It has been 50 years since Jim Clendenning was paired with Omer (Jerry) Foisy through the Big Brothers Big Sisters program.
OXFORD COUNTY - Big Brothers Big Sisters of Oxford County is celebrating a remarkable milestone this year.
Omer (Jerry) Foisy has been a big brother to Jim Clendenning for 50 years now. Foisy was a barber in Thamesford 50 years ago when a customer started speaking about a brand new program in the area called Big Brothers. Foisy was already a parent to two young girls and after speaking with his wife, decided that joining the Big Brothers program was a great idea.
Jim Clendenning got involved with the program after his father passed away. All of his siblings were all grown up, so it was just him and his mom at home when he started the mentorship. The two have been friends ever since, Foisy was even named the godfather to Jim's son and has been invited to every single one of his major life milestones.
The pair were first matched in 1971 and would play chess, go fishing or just hang out. Today they consider each other friends and family.
Foisy says joining the program was one of the best decisions he ever made.
“I sure am glad and thankful I made that decision that day. For fifty years, Jim and I have had so much fun and exciting adventures together. We also made a connection with both of our families. The Clendenning's and the Foisy's were now connected and never to be separated again.”
Clendenning says the two still go golfing every year and stay in touch, even after all these years.
“The relationship Jerry and I have today is as strong as when we first met. We still continue to do things with each other, with our families and there was no big event in my life that Jerry wasn't invited to.”
BBBS Oxford Executive Director Kristen Ralph says the power of this story is important to shed a light on mentoring, relationships and impact that Big Brothers Big Sisters and its volunteer mentors strive to provide through their programs.
“Omer and Jim are a testament to the power a positive mentoring relationship can have in a young person’s life, and how that connection can build into a bond that can change lives, not just those of the mentee. Every time I speak about their story, their legacy and their continued support of the agency, I get emotional. Omer ignited the potential that he saw in Jim and encouraged him along the way. Their bond, to this day is incredible and inspiring.”