The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.
by Becky Smith, The Quill
Charles Foster, a 1976 La Harpe High School graduate, is now Dr. Charles Foster after receiving his Doctor of Chiropractic from Palmer College of Chiropractic in Davenport, Iowa.
Following his graduation in 1986, Dr. Foster moved his family to Brandon, Vermont and established his first practice.
Charles says "Our first practice was called Brandon Clinic of Chiropractic. In 2007, we changed the name to FOSTERing WELLNESS to reflect the type of practice we aspired to be and to allow us to expand our reach and our brand in other communities.
In 2008, we purchased a practice in Rutland, VT and in 2013, we acquired a third office in Randolph, VT. Our most recent addition to the FOSTERing WELLNESS Clinics happened at the end of 2016 when we bought a practice in Springfield, VT.
Within the 4 offices we have 5 doctors and three of us are family members, Dr. Taryn Mason, and my youngest brother, Dr. Heath Foster. Until recently, my niece, Dr. Renee Foster Thompson was employed with us for nearly 10 years. She is my brother Roger's second daughter."
Charles has been married to Johnna Tinman Foster since 1981 with two grown children, Leah and Taryn. He says "Johnna was our first employee when we opened our first practice August 10, 1987. She took time out to raise our daughters, but when they were in the last years of high school, Johnna came back to work in the office as support for our office manager. She now floats between offices covering sick days and vacations and does training and billing."
Leah Foster Field, age 32, is the mother of their only grandchild, Andrew, age 8. For several years Leah ran the front desk in a chiropractic office in Meredith NH, working for one of Dr. Foster's friends and a nephew who is also a chiropractor. She recently became a manager for Applebee's in Concord NH.
Taryn Foster Mason, age 29, is a chiropractor and joined the practice in 2014 and is a partner with Charles in 2 of his 4 offices. Charles states "she has no children yet, but she is beginning to think about it in the near future".
One of their family traditions is also now a church tradition. After the Christmas Eve service all the family and their church family would come to their house for some of Johnna's famous soups.
In the summer, Charles says "we like to get together and make homemade ice cream just like my Grandpa John Louden used to make, except we don't have to chip the ice with a pick like we did back then".
"Johnna and I like to golf, often together, and the girls and grandson like to golf as well. I think Andrew likes driving the cart the best. Letting him drive the cart reminds me of the times my grandfathers and my uncles used to let me drive tractors and pickup trucks when I was his age."
"We like to travel but running 4 offices does not yet allow for too much free time, but we can see some opportunities on the horizon. We did a family Christmas in Mexico a few years ago. That was fun but we missed the family gathering. I like to duck hunt and Johnna loves to do pottery. We are active in our local church and, in fact, had a part in starting a church from scratch with Roger."
"I've been involved in chiropractic politics almost since we founded our first practice. With another doctor I flew to Iowa in the fall of 2003 and helped draft a pro-chiropractic position paper for 6 democratic presidential candidates, all in the same day. It had never been done before and hasn't been duplicated since. Before that we were able to work with then Governor Howard Dean of Vermont to enact insurance equality legislation for chiropractic patients. Those two achievements are some of my proudest professional moments."
"In 2003, I was also awarded the Vermont Chiropractor of the Year award. But the thing I'm most proud of is that after I became the first chiropractor in my family, I've had two brothers, Brian and Heath, one daughter, Taryn and two nephews follow me into practice and a handful of patients, a few of them practice within an hour of me. It's fun to see them go from "patients" to "peers."
Associated with Dr. Taryn becoming a chiropractor, I was very pleased to be able to be the commencement speaker at her graduation in 2014. That was a goal I had written down soon after she was born. She maybe didn't have a choice about her profession."
"I am a member of an invitation only limited member fraternity called the Chiropractic Knights of the Round Table. Historically it has been a "Who's Who" of chiropractic thought leaders and influencers. We push each other to new heights of personal and professional achievement. These are my best friends in chiropractic."
When Charles was in high school at La Harpe, he says his most influential teacher was Jan Carpenter. She taught English, Public Speaking and Drama. He says "she saw something in me that I had not seen before. She gave me fun roles in the class plays and I was able to come out of my shell. She introduced me to public speaking, something that I had been deathly afraid of, and I find it challenging (it still gives me a case of nerves) but fun as well."
He also states "Dr. Larry Troxel was the person who I admired as a chiropractor, and it was he that I wanted to model my professional life after." Charles said, about 4th grade is when he remembers his entire family going to Dr. Troxel in Davenport, Iowa for wellness care. And he remembers seeing the positive effects Dr. Troxel had on other patients. It left a huge impression on Charles and he says "I saw how the knowledgeable application of his hands and a specific adjustment could help someone's health without drugs or surgery."
"I wanted to grow up to be like Dr. Troxel. He clearly worked hard, but he exuded a love for his work and he seemed like the adult having the most fun. I hope that is how my family members found themselves in chiropractic. I hope they saw me having a passion for what I do, and saw the love I have for serving other people in this way. I hope they saw me having fun."
"Thirty one years after starting my practice I'm just as excited about going to the office. It's never been work. I plan to help young doctors open new practices and show them how to replicate themselves by partnering with them in practices they will ultimately own. I have no plans to retire, just change my role by gradually moving to a more administrative role. But I think I will be adjusting people as long as I am able."
More information can be found on the FOSTERing Wellness Face Book page or their website at www.fosteringwellness.net.