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ST. OLAF COLLEGE,
Northfield, Minn., June 16, 1949. Hon. James I. DOLLIVER, Congress of the United States,
House of Representatives, Washington, D. C. DEAR MR. DOLLIVER: During the past school year I have known Dr. Jacob Ornstein at Waldorf College, Forest City, Iowa. He was professor of romance languages and I taught chemistry.
I have the highest respect for Dr. Ornstein as a colleague and very close friend. I admire him for his determination and will to win. Through his own efforts, and by the help of God, he has risen from total physical incapacity to a point where he again is serving his fellow men as a teacher as conscientiously as he served his fellow men as a member of the armed forces. His spirit and his will to win is the highest example of his braveness and determination, an example of the highest order for his students and all who got to know him; a man who established no barriers between himself and those around him even though he was a lone member of the Jewish race in a school and community that was almost 100 percent Scandinavian. In spite of the fact he is kept in a wheel chair, he is active in national professional conferences and community affairs.
An automobile for him is an absolute necessity. He must have one for his work whereby he earns his own living, whereas otherwise he could be a ward of the State. He lost the use of his limbs by the ravage of polio as much as one could lose if he had been hit by a bullet.
I certainly feel that whatever you can do for Dr. Ornstein will be very much appreciated by him as well as by all those who have had the pleasure of knowing him. Yours very truly,
MELVIN J. LARSON, Assistant to Academic Dean.
Forest City, Iowa, June 20, 1949. Re grant for automobile with hand controls for Dr. Jacob Ornstein. Hon. James I. DOLLIVER, Congress of the United States,
House of Representatives, Washington, D. C. DEAR MR. DOLLIVER: I have worked with Dr. Jacob Ornstein the past 2 years at Waldorf College, and our relationship has been rather a close one in a professional way and somewhat in a personal way.
I gladly attest to the fact that there is a definite need for an automobile in the life of Dr. Ornstein. I feel this not only for the sake of giving Dr. Ornstein greater ease in getting around. Also, in his type of work, certain professional contacts are necessary. I believe that it should be recognized that Dr. Ornstein, because of his physical condition, will no longer be able to command any great salary. Consequently, because of this hardship, because of the psychological need for his own emotional health, and because of professional need, I have the conviction that I can attest to the fact of the need for an automobile on the part of Dr. Jacob Ornstein. Truly yours,
CLIFTON L. BRULAND, Dean of Men. Subscribed and sworn to by Clifton L. Bruland this 20th day of June 1949. (SEALT
C. O. NERBY,
Notary Public, Winnebago County, Iowa. My commission expires July 4, 1951.
New YORK LIFE INSURANCE Co.,
OFFICE OF SPECIAL AGENT,
Forest City, Iowa, June 15, 1949. Re Jacob Ornstein, Mr. JAMES I. DOLLIVER Congress of the United States, House of Representatives,
Washington, D. C. DEAR CONGRESSMAN DOLLiveR: Two years ago I enjoyed a short visit with you while visiting in Washington. I appreciated your hospitality and taking time to visit. I want to thank you again for that courtesy.
My letter now is to substantiate information that Dr. Jacob Ornstein has written you concerning himself.
He has a war-connected disability, incurring polio while in Italy in 1945 with the Office of Strategic Services. He is making a wonderful fight to maintain himself and needs the use of a car with manual controls. He has no use of his legs as yet, and may never have. A car for him is a necessity to carry out his work as teacher, author, and lecturer. He is trying very hard to keep from becoming a public charge and the use of a car will encourage him in his work. Whatever you can do to help him will be very much appreciated. I have known Dr. Ornstein for 2 years, since September 1947. Very truly yours,
J. G. WESTBY.
Davidson, N. C., June 15, 1949. Hon. JAMES I. DOLLIVER, Congress of the United States,
House of Representatives, Washington, D. C. DEAR CONGRESSMAN DOLLIVER: For the past 12 years it has been my pleasure to know Mr. Jacob Ornstein. Therefore, I feel I am in a position to furnish some accurate information regarding him.
Inasmuch as Mr. Ornstein was disabled while on wartime service for our Government in Italy. May 30, 1945. I should like to speak in behalf of special congressional legislation which would grant him an automobile with hand controls.
In support of my opinion that Mr. Ornstein is deserving of an automobile I wish to call your attention to the following pertinent facts:
(a) Mr. Ornstein, in spite of almost insuperable financial problems, attained an excellent education.
(6) Both as an undergraduate and graduate student he distinguished himself as a student of outstanding ability, receiving much recognition from the schools in which he studied.
(c) As a teacher and a scholar since the completion of his academic preparation, he has done outstanding work, his numerous publications having appeared in the best language journals of America. Mr. Ornstein's present handicap resulting from polio has not affected his enthusiasm in these areas. As a matter of fact. he is doing more research now than ever before and his teaching is of an even higher quality, if one may judge by the recognition he has received in that field during the past 12 months.
That an automobile is indispensable for Mr. Ornstein is readily apparent when one becomes aware of his condition. He is completely helpless—unable to take a step or do anything without the constant assistance of an attendant. This I know because I saw him last summer being carried to the bath and being put to bed while visiting at Emory University.
With an automobile Mr. Ornstein will have transportation to his work, will be able to accept summer appointments, give lectures, attend conferences, and live & more normal social life. To this should be added the fact that a car will make a great contribution to his morale. Mr. Ornstein is a gentleman of the highest principles and moral character.
He wants to earn his own way and live a fruitful life. To do these things he needs a car which he can operate, but with his low salary as a teacher and with the expense of an attendant, he is without the necessary funds. Therefore, I humbly beg Congress through you to accord him the same consideration with respect to a car which is given the GI's who lost the use of their legs in the war. Sincerely,
JAMES Y. CAUSEY,
Professor of Spanish:
Salisbury, N. C., June 16, 1949. Hon. JAMES I. DOLLIVER, Congress of the United States,
House of Representatives, Washington, D. C. DEAR MR. DOLLIVER: You recently requested Dr. Jacob Ornstein to furnish affidavits from persons who know him personally and who are familiar ith his handicap and resulting problems, supporting his request for reimbursement from the Federal Government for the automobile with special hand controls that he has bought. I have been asked by Dr. Ornstein to send you such a statement.
As you are probably aware, Dr. Örnstein was striken with a very serious attack of infantile paralysis while overseas in the service of the United States Government. After many, many months of slow and tedious treatment, with recovery from complete helplessness to a state of health where he is able to support himself as a teacher, it was necessary for Dr. Ornstein to obtain a car. This car is essential for him to get about even in the local community where he teaches—to say nothing of trips to professional meetings and speaking engagements-because of the wheel chair, braces, crutches, and other necessary equipment that he needs constantly.
It was my pleasure to be associated with Dr. Ornstein on the faculty here at Catawba College in the summer of 1948. In those 3 months he was a great and constant source of inspiration to both faculty and students by his indomitable courage in continuing his efforts to further overcome his handicap. A favorable action on his request for assistance would be small recompense on the part of the United States Government for one who gave so much, yet it would mean a great deal to him in his efforts to continue to be a self-supporting citizen. Sincerely yours,
David J. SESSOMS, Jr., Assistant Professor of Commerce and Political Science. Subscribed and sworn to before me this 16th day of June 1949.
JANIE E. ANDERSON,
Notary Public. My commission expires February 8, 1950.
GRACE L. ELSER
July 7, 1949.-Committed to the Committee of the Whole House and ordered
to be printed
Mr. JENNINGS, from the Committee on the Judiciary, submitted
(To accompany H. R. 2594)
The Committee on the Judiciary, to whom was referred the bill (H. R. 2594) for the relief of Grace L. Elser, having considered the same, report favorably thereon without amendment and recommend that the bill do pass.
The purpose of the proposed legislation is to authorize the Civil Service Commission to pay out of any money in the civil-service retirement and disability fund to Grace L. Elser, the widow of Wilbur L. Elser, formerly a soil conservationist with the United States Department of Agriculture, an annuity equal in amount to the annuity which she would have been entitled to receive had the retirement of the said Wilbur L. Elser become effective on May 15, 1947, and had he elected in writing, at the time of such retirement, to receive a reduced annuity equal to such reduced annuity payable after his death to the said Grace L. Elser, as surviving beneficiary.
STATEMENT OF FACTS
It appears that Wilbur L. Elser, the husband of Grace L. Elser, was employed as soil conservationist in the Soil Conservation Service up to June 22, 1947, the date of his death. Mr. Elser was eligible for optional retirement since he was 60 years old and had over 35 years of creditable service. After these long years of work in the service of Agriculture, he became seriously ill and submitted to a major operation. The operation disclosed that he was in a critical state due
His doctor and his family apparently kept this information from him, and he never did know just how critically ill he was. Knowing only that he was becoming worse, he requested and signed, on May 27, 1947, an application for optional civil service retirement. On June 7, 1947, he completed the application papers by signing his
H. Repts., 81-1, vol. 5-10
“Application for Joint and Survivorship Annuity.” His one concern during this time was making sure that his wife and small children would be taken care of in case he died. However, with his extended illness they were also in need of ready cash and he wanted, naturally enough, to remain on the rolls as long as possible. As evidence of this, he originally indicated his wish to have his retirement effective August 1, 1947, but later changed that date to July 1, 1947.
Mr. Elser died on June 22, 1947, just 26 days after he signed his application for retirement. If his retirement had been consummated on May 27, 1947, the then current provision of law would have defeated the right of his widow to the survivorship benefit. This proviso reads as follows: “Provided, That no election in lieu of the lief annuity provided herein shall become effective in case an employee dies within 30 days after the effective date of his retirement, and in the event of such death within this period, such death shall be considered as a death in active service." Under this proviso, Mr. Elser's widow became entitled to receive only the amount of his own retirement account, plus accrued interest, instead of the estimated $1,796 per annum that she would have been entitled to as a survivorship benefit. Mr. Elser died, still believing that his wife would, without question, receive the survivorship annụity in the event of his death.
A similar bill, H. R. 1396, for the relief of Anne Loacker was enacted and became Private Law No. 41 of the Seventy-ninth Congress. Therefore, your committee recommends favorable consideration.
1. Wilbur L. Elser was employed as Soil Conservationist, P-5 at the time of his death on June 22, 1947.
2. He had approximately 26 years and 2 months of creditable Federal service. He would have been 61 years of age on July 17, 1947. He was thus eligible for optional retirement.
3. His death on June 22, 1947, followed a serious illness of several months. However, neither he nor his physician thought that his trouble was as immediately critical as it proved to be.
4. On May 27, 1947, Mr. Elser applied for a joint and survivorship annuity, “Option A," a right which he had earned through his more than 36 years of meritorious Federal service. He elected an annuity in constant amount, payable as long as either he or his wife, Grace L. Elser, might live, to begin effective June 1, 1947. This election was made under section 4 (d) of the Retirement Act.
5. He originally applied for this annuity effective August 1, 1947, but changed the effective date to July 1 when his condition became more serious.
6. His wife, Grace L. Elser, was 46 years of age on October 3, 1946. They had two small children, aged 3 and 9. It seemed probable that Mr. Elser would not recover from this illness, and the Joint and Survivorship Annuity, Option A, would give his wife the best possible income-required for subsistence and for rearing and educating their children.
7. Merely because Mr. Elser died before July 1, 1947, (date of death, June 22, 1947), his elected annuity did not become effective. This is due to the following provision in section 4 (d) of the Retirement Act: Provided, That no election in lieu of the life annuity provided herein shall become effective in case an employee dies within thirty days after the effective date of retirement, and in the event of such death within this period, such death shall be considered as a death in active service.