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"Another Milestone:" A Letter To Friends At Warm Springs

Creator: Franklin D. Roosevelt (author)
Date: December 1932
Publication: The Polio Chronicle
Source: Roosevelt Warm Springs Institute for Rehabilitation Archives
Figures From This Artifact: Figure 1  Figure 2  Figure 3  Figure 4

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I wish it were possible for all the friends of Warm Springs to assemble once each year. Our annual Founder's Day dinner at the close of Thanksgiving Day is the nearest approach to the ideal. Certainly, we had it forcibly brought home to us this year that the group of nearly three hundred who sat down together represented only a small fraction of "The Warm Springs Family," and we felt very deeply that other hundreds were present in spirit. Your cordial Thanksgiving greetings and the large number of new memberships to the Polio Crusaders brought much happiness and encouragement to all of us.


As we look back at the seven years of the Georgia Warm Springs Foundation, we are glad that through this Foundation at least a small portion of humanity has received such a large portion of benefit. We are thankful that just as surely as great human needs arise, so human institutions arise to meet those needs. Briefly, we of the Foundation may be thankful that it has been possible to help few hundreds of patients; that we have built up medical and technical staff capable of interpreting the best modern knowledge in terms of practice, results in physiotherapy, hydrotherapy, surgery and orthopaedic brace making. We are grateful too, that it has been possible to gradually increase and improve facilities widening our usefulness as our conception of our obligations has broadened and above all, we are thankful for that inestimably valuable, though intangible, asset, "The Spirit of Warm Springs."


Can we, who have felt the spirit of Warm Springs, do less than our best in a crusade launched against the vast human loss inflicted by infantile paralysis? We all have glimpses, however vague of the whole picture; we understand at least a little of the human values involved in the stupendous problem presented by hundreds of thousands of polio victims. We have a gospel to preach. We need to make America "polio conscious" to the end that the inexcusable case of positive neglect will be entirely eliminated. We need to raise the common conception of what constitutes reasonable effort toward physical come-back. To every physically handicapped person and to his family we need to impart the idea that he owes it to himself and to society also to make a supreme effort to come back, to readjust himself, to return to normal life in spite of his physical handicap. After all, many of these physical handicaps amount to very little if given proper proportion to the other things of life.


We all have a justifiable pride in what has been accomplished through Warm Springs during these first years. Sincere thanks are due to each and every person who has helped to make this possible. The "Warm Springs Family" includes hundreds of generous hearted Americans who have visited Warm Springs. I know that you who are former patients share with me the wish that such benefactors could spend a few days at Warm Springs to see for themselves something of the work accomplished with their dollars.


The work is only well begun. These first seven years have simply taken the measure of the possibilities for good through the Georgia Warm Springs Foundation, both in the direct treatment of patients and as an educational force in the whole crusade against polio. We look with confidence to you who make up the ever-widening circle of friends of Warm Springs for the enthusiasm, good will and support which will be necessary to the proper conduct of this work over the years to come. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for what you have done for the victims of poliomyelitis and for what you will do in the future.


Franklin Roosevelt