Therapy Phones Donation (1963)

Disclaimer: The following was transcribed from an article in the Capper Foundation Archives. The choice of words used at the time this was written may not reflect current Capper Foundation inclusive language and views.

Therapy Phones Donation (1963)

A switchboard and eight desk type telephones, all “out-of-service” models, have been installed at the Capper Foundation for Crippled Children for the personal use of the youngsters.

Six Topeka members of the Telephone Pioneers of America (TPA, now Pioneers volunteer network) spent about 145 hours working to install the switchboard and classroom telephones to help the handicapped children in speech therapy and occupational therapy courses.

The installers, C. H. Merryfield, Henry Walters. Glenn Amis, Floyd Miller, Elmer Lewis and John R. Warner, worked evenings and weekends on the project.

Pioneers obtained the Western Electric supply depot in Kansas City.

“The phones work fine,” said Frank McGrath, executive secretary of the foundation. “With their own closed-circuit communications system, the children can be taught proper use of the telephone. Some even are learning switchboard procedure.”

McGrath said it had been decided to include a switchboard course into the pre-vocational therapy program. “We hope to train ambulatory youngsters so they may someday obtain jobs as switchboard operators. “

The installation was a suggestion of Herman B. Dixon (shown with Sharon, left, and Mary Ann at right), general accounting manager for Southwestern Bell Telephone Co. in Topeka and president of the state Sunflower Chapter of Pioneers.

TPA members are employees with 21 years of service with the telephone company. There are 1,663 members in the state chapter, 407 of them in Topeka.