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Remarks to a Representative Beneficiary of the federal Vocational Rehabilitation Program.

August 14, 1962

Mr. Secretary:

I'm very glad to welcome here to the White House Mr. and Mrs. Friskie from Boswell, Pa.

We are saluting today the fact that, for the first time in the history of this country, we have reached the target of 100,000 disabled people who are annually rehabilitated. Our goal is 200,000, and we are making a determined national effort.

This program goes back to the administration of Woodrow Wilson. It has received bipartisan support. It was made permanent during the administration of President Franklin Roosevelt. We have given additional funds and additional effort to it in the last year, and we believe it is the kind of program which can produce the most useful results for our country.

We have here a citizen of the State of Pennsylvania which has led this year in rehabilitating numbers of people. We have a distinguished representative of the 100,000 people, a young man who was injured in an automobile accident most seriously, which affected his means of livelihood. He was retrained as a history teacher, I believe, and now teaches at a school in his home area, and I know it's a source of satisfaction to him that he pays now more to the federal Government in taxes than the program cost in retraining him. So in the most human sense, this program is most worthwhile.

It's also worthwhile from the national viewpoint. And I hope under the determined leadership of our distinguished leader of this program, Dr. Switzer, and under the Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare, Mr. Celebrezze, with the strong support of the country and the Congress, that we can reach our goal of rehabilitating 200,000 of our fellow Americans and making it possible for them to begin a new life.

So we're glad to have you here, sir, as a representative of a good many other citizens. We are very proud of what you have done, and we are happy to have your wife and son here with you.

Note: The President spoke at 10 a.m. in his office at the White House at a ceremony welcoming Edward A. Friskie, "Mr. Rehabilitation of 1962." His opening words "Mr. Secretary" referred to Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare Anthony J. Celebrezze. Later in his remarks he referred to Mary E. Switzer, Director of Vocational Rehabilitation, Department of Health, Education, and Welfare. Among those attending the ceremony were Mrs. Friskie and son Michael.

John F. Kennedy, Remarks to a Representative Beneficiary of the federal Vocational Rehabilitation Program. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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