Coleman Foss to serve as Great Strides’ community chair

Saturday, February 08, 2014

Alumni Hero
Cleveland business leader Coleman Foss will serve as community chairman of the 2014 Great Strides walk for cystic fibrosis (CF), according to campaign officials at Lee University. The fourteenth annual walk and 5K road race will be held April 12.

“We are so happy that Coleman Foss has agreed to serve as Community Chairman of the Great Strides activities in 2014,” said Lee president Paul Conn. “Coleman has become one the most respected voices and leaders in health care in Bradley County and the surrounding area. He makes a big contribution to the community in many different ways, and under his leadership, Sky Ridge has always been supportive of Great Strides. We are honored that he will now be leading the campaign.”

Foss was appointed chief executive officer of SkyRidge Medical Center in 2007. Prior to that, he was the chief executive officer of Dyersburg Regional Medical Center in west Tennessee.

Foss brought his extensive experience in healthcare administration to the local community where he oversaw the construction of a $26 million facility expansion at SkyRidge and has led the hospital to increased patient, physician and employee satisfaction during his tenure. He received the CEO Outstanding Achievement Award for the Division from Community Health Systems for 2009, 2011, and 2012.

A graduate of Auburn University and University of Alabama at Birmingham, Foss is actively involved in the community as a board member of The Caring Place, First Tennessee Bank and United Way. He also has served on the board of the Bradley/Cleveland Chamber of Commerce. He and his wife, Amy, and their two children attend First Baptist Church in Cleveland.

“I am honored to be asked to participate as the community chairman for the Great Strides campaign,” Foss said. “On a professional level, SkyRidge Medical Center is committed to making a positive impact on the health of the community both inside and outside of the walls of the hospital. This is a great example of a campaign dedicated to seeking a cure which will positively impact so many individuals. On a personal level, it is a great way for me to contribute to the community which my family and I now call home.”

The Great Strides event will mobilize hundreds of community participants and Lee University students to raise money for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. In 2013, the event drew 325 walkers, 683 5K and fun run participants and over 140 volunteers to the downtown festivities. More than $78,000 was raised for CF research.

The Cleveland Great Strides is sponsored jointly by Lee University students and a group of community volunteers. Serving with Foss to lead the effort are Lee administrators Dr. Mike Hayes, vice president of student development, and Vanessa Hammond, who directs the school’s office of grants.

The 65 Roses 5K road race will be directed by Dr. Bill Estes, dean of the Helen DeVos College of Education at Lee.

The route for the 2014 walk and 5K run (3.1 miles) will begin and end on the Lee campus and will travel throughout Cleveland’s historic downtown area. The road race begins at 8:30 am and the walk at 10 a.m.

Great Strides is the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation’s largest national fundraiser, raising more than $40 million in 2013 and involving over 125,000 people at nearly 600 walk sites across the country.

According to Leigh Ellington, east Tennessee development director for the CF Foundation, “The Cleveland/Bradley County community has been incredibly generous and supportive of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation through Great Strides, raising more than $630,000 since 2001. Everything we do today makes a difference in the tomorrows of our CF patients, and Cleveland has done a lot.”

More information about the Cleveland Great Strides is available by calling Rosie Adams, walk coordinator, at 614-8406 or at the local Great Strides website at

PHOTO: Pictured here (l to r) are Estes, Hammond, Foss and Hayes (photo by Mike Wesson).