CLEVELAND, OH -- President and CEO of Keene Building Proucts, James R. Keene, released this update today regarding COVD-19:
“To our loyal customers and friends,
In my office is a letter Franklin Delano Roosevelt sent to a family friend regarding the home his mother owned called Campobello. The date on the letter is May 17, 1923. Every person will remember one of the most iconic leaders in the course of U.S. History. President Roosevelt is someone that led the country through the Great Depression, a world war, the resurrection of our infrastructure and the elimination of Prohibition. His leadership decisions are important to consider today. It is so very ironic that this letter is here, accidentally purchased in an auction a couple years ago.
“Fear of fear itself” -- the line that people recall from the depression, which was spoken by FDR. It is what leaders hope to prevent today. These words from a man that could no longer walk and, even with this disability, became president. From his effort to find solutions to unemployment, his Works Progress Administration (WPA) created statues (Hope Memorial Bridge) that are a Cleveland fixture and have been a part of the landscape for four wars and a Great Recession.
What applies today is what isn’t so apparent from this photo of FDR’s letter. In August of 1921, Roosevelt was stricken with Poliomyelitis, paralysis caused by a virus. He was at Campobello when this occurred. Today, we have another virus scare and are in the throes of fear, desperately needing the leadership that is required to stand strong.
At the Keene Family of Companies, we’re doing the very best to carry forward while keeping our people safe, and our decisions are being made with that foremost in our mind. We appreciate our customers and will do everything we can to help in this time of concern. We’re making a few decisions, including:
- The Keene Idea charitable fund, held by the Cleveland Foundation, will provide $100,000 to community charities in order to help those in need.
- A number of Keene folks will be donating time to pass out food at Saint Francis in Mayfield Heights this weekend.
- We will continue to work at our manufacturing facilities.
- We will maintain our distances from one another to limit social contact and have stopped travel and office meetings face-to-face.
- We’re working to create our own sanitizer since there isn’t any available and will attempt to donate it to those that might need it locally if possible.
FDR made it personally through a very devastating virus epidemic and the tragedy that cost him mobility. He shepherded the country and an economy to greater success than any other nation in the history of mankind. He overcame a severe disability to become President. This economic environment and virus will pass. Take care to read how kindly he wrote his friend, bearing in mind how and what he did moving forward with his life. Remember that we are here today as benefactors of his wise leadership and decisions.
The Keene Family plans on standing up to make a difference. Know the Hope Memorial statue will remain a fixture long after this crisis.”