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MCCC Alum Steven Foster Saves Man From Burning Car

7/2/10

New Jersey State Trooper Steven Foster received a life-changing gift on his 31st birthday, on March 28, 2009. It wasn't a gift he expected.

A 2000 graduate of MCCC, Foster spotted flames as he drove his police car onto Interstate 295 that day in Hamilton Township. Flagged down by drivers who had stopped to help, he saw that a car had crashed into the woods. It was flipped on its side, and a fire was burning in the engine compartment. Foster ran to the car and saw the occupant still inside, standing on the broken driver's side window, parallel to the roof of the car, and very disoriented.

Foster managed to pull the man out of the passenger side window, and get him up the embankment. Minutes later, the entire car was engulfed in flames.

"I had dealt with car accidents before, but not to that extent," said Foster, who had only been on the job for nine months at the time of the rescue. "Had I not been driving by, there would not have been enough time for the police to get there. I was in the right place at the right time."

Steven Foster

On June 9 Foster was presented with a Valor Award by the 200 Club, a Mercer County organization dedicated to providing financial assistance to the families of public safety and rescue personnel who are killed in the line of duty. The award is presented to an individual "who has committed an act of bravery beyond the call of duty, at imminent personal risk to his own life and safety."

The award took on added emotion for Foster because it was presented just three days after the death of fellow State Trooper Mark Castellano, who was killed in the line of duty.

"Receiving this award was overwhelming and touching for me," Foster said. Also recognized by the State Police with a yellow ribbon, Foster received yet another special gift -- a thank-you call from the mother of the man whose life he saved, a father of two young children. "I did what any trooper would do," said Foster.

Now assigned as a trooper in Bordentown, New Jersey, Foster began his education at MCCC, earning a degree in Biology. He continued at Stockton State College, where he earned a bachelor's degree in Environmental Science Studies, then professional certificates in computer mapping and geographic information systems.

Foster wasn't satisfied with his jobs in these fields, and pursued his long-time interest in becoming a state trooper. In 2008 his goal became a reality.

Foster remembers his years at MCCC fondly. "It was nice because it was a good transition. I lived right by Mercer. It wasn't shell shock."

Coming to Mercer actually runs in Foster's family. His mother, Susan Serinese, is a Radiography graduate, and his grandmother, Josie Schaible, also a graduate, works at the MCCC library. "We are so proud of Steven," Schaible said. "He has grown into a great person."

More MCCC alumni success stories here.

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