Don, far right, with his wife, Candice, far left and Dad and Mom in the middle - the inspirations for his work.
Even though he’s nearing his seventies, there’s never been a more appropriate use of the phrase “Like father, like son” than as applied to Donald Foust.
When it was Donald’s time to retire, he took a page out of his dad’s book by returning to woodworking - just as his father Frank had done when he had finished his career.
“During Dad’s last years, I sort of apprenticed under him,” Donald said. “At age 60, I retired and still continued do consulting for General Electric and some of its upstart companies,” said Foust. “But I needed something to occupy my time.”
Crafting “comfort birds” out of blocks of wood, Donald’s “retirement” mission took off where Frank had landed.
“My father passed in 2021 and I inherited his tools and his shop,” Donald said. “But I had no place to put them. So, I purchased a shed and moved them. I’ve kept the tradition of making the Comfort Birds with the design and techniques that he came up with. My father’s intent is that you would hold them in your hand if you’re suffering or concerned about something. He attached the following scripture to them: “Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.” (Matthew 6:26 NIV)
When asked how people learn the kind of compassion that motivated his father’s work, he gave this reply.
“I don’t know,” Foust said. “I can only tell you that I learned it from my parents because I saw them in action…taking in a Vietnamese family after the war, building churches in developing countries, helping restore flooded-out houses of faith, using construction and cooking skills while living out of a RV for six months after Hurricane Andrew, etc.”
Indeed, Donald is the definitive chip off the old block.