On Wednesday afternoon, Wendell Foster named Ben Boarman as the nonprofit’s interim chief executive officer.

Boarman, vice chairman of the Wendell Foster board of directors, replaces Eric Scharf, who moved from Massachusetts to join the Owensboro nonprofit in December 2017.

Boarman said Wendell Foster policy prohibits him from discussing personnel matters. He declined to disclose the reason for Scharf’s departure.

Scharf was reached and declined to comment as well.

Boarman said the nonprofit’s board is appointing a committee to begin an immediate search for a permanent CEO. Until a new leader is named, Boarman will volunteer his services.

“I’m willing to put in whatever time is necessary for the continued success of Wendell Foster,” Boarman said.

Wendell Foster is in the middle of a $3.5 million outpatient therapy expansion. The 12,600-square-foot rehabilitation facility is the second part of a three-phase campus project announced during Scharf’s tenure.

The facility is expected to open this summer.

Also, final touches are being put on the day services program, and the Wendell Foster Half Marathon will continue on March 14 as planned.

Boarman owns River City Pawn, Furniture Warehouse and Oddball Creative. As a local businessman, he has a flexible work schedule that allows him to spend as much time as necessary at Wendell Foster.

Boarman, who grew up in Philpot, has a long history with the nonprofit, which serves people with disabilities. For example, he and Vince Montgomery organized the organization’s golf scramble for about four years.

Then, as a community member, Boarman was asked to serve on the nonprofit’s development committee. When a board seat opened, Boarman joined and served as chairman of the development committee for four years. He has served as the board’s vice chairman for the past two years.

Wednesday was Boarman’s first day as Wendell Foster’s CEO. Boarman, who is 6-feet-7-inches tall, started his morning by asking the nonprofit’s maintenance crew to remove the drawer under his desktop because he was too tall to fit his chair under the desk.

Also, Boarman brought his 15-week-old puppy Phoebe to the office. She’s a mixed-breed dog he rescued from the Daviess County Animal Control shelter.

“In my normal job, she comes to work with me,” Boarman said.

Having Phoebe with him wasn’t something he was willing to give up.

Boarman considers himself lucky to work with Wendell Foster’s “incredible staff.”

“We will continue to help empower people with disabilities to realize their dreams and potential,” he said in a press release. “I’m very proud of this organization.”

Renee Beasley Jones, 270-228-2835, rbeasleyjones@messenger-inquirer.com

Renee Beasley Jones, 270-228-2835, rbeasleyjones@messenger-inquirer.com

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