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MASON CITY, IA – It’s his last day on the job and although he doesn’t want to be leaving Lionel Foster is trying to make the best of a tough situation.
“I’m fine, when you’ve put in 41 years in a particular job you, the only thing you can look back and think about is did I benefit the people who came to seek our assistance here at the human rights commission,” said Lionel.
Lionel’s position was cut after Mason City Council members made some drastic cuts to the city’s budget earlier this year, and that meant Lionel’s job had to be eliminated
But he says he’s not mad about it, he’s just happy for the years he’s had helping others.
“It’s given me an opportunity to broaden my scope and to work with issues that are important to people, to average individuals,” said Lionel.
Dean Genth, Chair of the Human Rights Commission, tells us, he is sad to see him go.
“How do you talk about a man who has given 41 years of his life to giving voice to those who don’t have any power or a voice regarding human rights whether it’s in housing or places of employment,” said Genth.
Genth says that Lionel has left his mark on the community and you can see the difference he’s made
“His life speaks volumes about the impact and importance that he has had on this life of Mason City residents. I don’t think there’s maybe a single individual that lives in Mason City as a resident that has had longer or more definite impact on the lives in a positive way for this community,” said Genth.
As for Lionel, he’s just glad he can say he’s made that difference.
In 2011 Lionel was inducted into the Iowa African-American Hall of Fame.
He’s also helped create legislation for communities to have a Human Rights Commission.
Lionel is planning on just taking up more volunteer work to pass the time.