FEBRUARY 7, 1942
ARTHURDALE, W. Va., Friday—While I was in Chicago between trains yesterday morning, I spent an hour breakfasting with our Civilian Defense Regional Director, Major Raymond J. Kelly and members of the local defense council, headed by Mayor Kelly. They are very individual in Chicago and have set up a block system, whereby an organizer is appointed who calls a meeting of the block.
Those present, elect the air raid warden, and he or she appoint his assistants. This seems a very democratic form of procedure and, for the protective services, should work out very well. Just how the volunteer community services are to work in this scheme is still a little hazy in my mind.
I was assured, however, that their district offices would be responsible for the channelling of volunteers to appropriate community services. They begged me to wait until they were functioning a little better, before making any criticism of the present set-up, which they feel sure is going to prove satisfactory. I certainly hope they are right, because they are quite evidently doing a good organization job on the protective and medical services.
Two hours on the train brought us to Champaign, Ill., at eleven-thirty. I went to a press conference, a luncheon at the University Women's Club, followed by a question period on the work of women in defense, and then a meeting in the big gymnasium of several thousand people attending the 41st conference of Farm and Home Week. This Farm and Home Week at the University of Illinois, reminded me very much of the annual Farm and Home Week with which I am familiar at Cornell University in New York State.
The fact that they had comparatively little snow must make the attendance of farmers and their families a little easier, but on the other hand, tire-rationing must keep many people away. I was glad we had a twenty minute question period after my talk, for it showed a great interest on the part of rural people in their responsibility for the conduct of the war. Their chief trouble, of course, is the fear of a labor shortage in farm areas.
Before leaving, I spent an hour with the local defense council representing four adjacent counties as well as the cities of Champaign and Urbana. They have a civilian defense volunteer office which is functioning very well. There is evidently a great deal of interest on the part of all the representatives on the defense council, who are doing a good job.
Mrs. Helm joined us in Champaign and we had a pleasant dinner on the train. We changed trains in Chicago, and are now nearing Connellsville,Pa. from where we drive to Arthurdale.