Cerro Gordo County Iowa
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Two Walters - and a Symbol
It was a prematurely Springlike day of early March in Mason City, Iowa. The early morning sun, diffused through a gray haze, shone brightly over the modern airport and the surrounding farm lands. A little boy on crutches, neatly dressed n a smart check coat with cap to match, walked proudly, sure-footedly down the runway to the waiting air liner, then stopped to pose for news photographers.
For this appealing 5-year-old on crtuches was a national personality - the 1957 Easter Seal child, Walter Bill CASH, of Iowa.
There were smiles and a few tears on the faces of those who watched. They knew the story. Three years before, the lad had survived a vicious attack of polio, only to emergy crippled - unable to stand or walk. A tragic life of incapacitation seemed to lie ahead. But through the work and faith and vision of many people, the gloomy picture was completely changed.
Today, as Walter CASH flies to the great cities to appear on widespread telecasts and broadcasts, he can look forward to an active, useful lief. His story is a living symbol of the mircales wrought in the rehabilitation of crippled persons through the Easter Seal program.
And figuring strongly in the story of Walter CASH is another Walter, a service-minded Rotary Clubs, and a mighty, united community effort in Cerro Gordo County.
The other Walter - Walter WALKER (pictured with Walter CASH) - the kindly, ruddy-faced President of the Mason City, Iowa, Rotary Club, has been a key figure in the Cerro Gordo County Society for Crippled Children and Adults since 1945, and for ten years served as its chairman. Under his leadership, and with the Rotary Club of Mason City, leading the combined effort of public-spirited agencies of the county, the Easter Seal Treatment Center at Herbert Hoover School was established; a full-time registered physical therapist was hired; and treatment was provided for the children of Cerro Gordo County and gradually extended to encompass a total of seven other counties.
At Hoover School, in a large, attractive room equipped with the most modern therapeutical equipment, dozens of children with handicaps resulting from polio, cerebral palsy, spinal bifida, congential crippling, and muscular dystrophy are treated, as a part of a program of many services to the crippled. A yearly contribution of $2,000 from a Rotary-sponsered policemen's baseball game helps to make this possible.
In the selection of Walter CASH - from 600 candidates - recognition has come to Iowa and to Cerro Gordo County. But Walter WALKER and his fellow workers find it only a spur to further work and increased plans for greater service.
The story of Walter CASH is a symbol to millions of victory over crippling disease. To those who know, it is also a symbol of the spirit of the Rotary: "Service above Self."
~Park RINARD, Rotarian, Mason City, Iowa
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