Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Age Discrimination Injustice: "Dutch" Reagan Would Be Mad

Weighing in on a sad case of discrimination against elderly tour guides at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library is the U.K.'s Telegraph. Here is an excerpt from their story...

Nearly 30 of the volunteers learned of their fate in a letter telling them that they were being relieved of their duties. They were awarded "emeritus" status and handed glass globes and certificates signed by Nancy Reagan.

Administrators deny that age was a factor in dismissing the volunteers, who are devoted to President Reagan. He was buried in the grounds of the library in the Simi Valley north of Los Angeles after his death last year aged 93.

But many of those affected, the majority of whom are in their seventies, believe otherwise.

"It was just 'goodbye and don't come back'," said Norma Stafford, 75. "Basically all they said was that we were not needed any more. But as we went along we figured out that all of us were over 70 or had grey hair, some of us both.

"I guess they thought we wouldn't be able to bounce around and were looking for younger people. But believe it or not, you can walk and talk in your 70s - as Mr Reagan did."

She said the nation's oldest president, who was 77 when he left office in 1989, "would not have liked this at all"...

Amen, Mrs. Stafford. Let's hope this injustice is quickly amended. In fact, here's my 2 cents worth sent to both the Library and the Foundation.

By the way, the appropriate contact information is printed below the sample letter. Why not fire off your own message today?

Dear Reagan Library and Foundation staff leaders,

I just heard about the callous injustice inflicted upon the elderly tour guides at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. How sad (and utterly un-Reaganesque!) was this action. It certainly hurts the reputation of the Library and Foundation as well as making fans of Ronald Reagan like myself very embarrassed.

Having toured the boyhood home of Reagan in Dixon, Illinois, with the wonderful assistance of elderly guides, I can attest to the special benefits of having experienced, principled, and long-devoted people performing such service. Please amend your error quickly and let these dear folks get back to guiding Americans through the Library of a great man who would be appalled at your insensitivity. Thank you for considering my request.


Denny Hartford
Omaha, Nebraska

The Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum
40 Presidential Drive

Simi Valley, California 93065

Main Phone: 800-410-8354 or 805-577-4000

Fax: 805-577-4074

Email: reagan.library@nara.gov

The Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation

40 Presidential Drive

Simi Valley, California 93065

Main Phone: 805-522-2977

Fax: 805-520-9702

Email: info@reaganfoundation.org