When I finished reading in the Rotarian magazine about New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s philanthropic foundation’s gift of $100 million to support polio eradication efforts, memories came flooding in about this crusade which was started by President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
The one that stands out the most for me is when I interviewed Eleanor Roosevelt and Dr. Jona Salk in January of 1958. I was working for WSB Radio in Atlanta at the time. The station sent me to Warm Springs to do a piece for NBC Radio. Mrs. Roosevelt and Dr. Jonas Salk, developer of the Salk polio vaccine, were among those who gathered at the small Georgia village made famous by FDR to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis.
I don’t remember what either of them said, but I do remember the impressions I got from those interviews. Mrs. Roosevelt was gracious and all I had to do was get her started. Her words flowed easily as she enthusiastically talked about the Foundation. Dr. Salk was a lot more reserved and didn’t appear as comfortable being interviewed. That could have been because she was an international public figure a long time before he became one.
Not only did NBC Radio air rhe report nationally, but originated the Today Show with Dave Garraway, and Queen for a Day on NBC TV from Warm Springs that week.
The Rotary Foundation has raised many millions as a global partner with Global Polio Eradication Initiative, the World Health organization, UNICEF, U. S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The effort has paid off with polio just about eradicated world-wide.