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Salute To CCC

Two-part ceremony honors program’s veterans

August 21, 2010
By DEAN WELLS dwells@timesobserver.com
A local committee held a two-part ceremony on Friday honoring veterans of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). The CCC Statue Committee, headed by Ed Atwood, president of the Tionesta Valley Snowmobile Society, organized the remembrance, which included the rededication in Starbrick of a statue honoring CCC workers, followed by several speakers and a picnic at Betts Park. Atwood introduced four veterans of the CCC during a brief ceremony held in front of the worker statue located at the county’s Visitors’ Center on Friday morning. The introduction was followed by the Pledge of Allegiance and then remarks by Karen Atwood. Karen Atwood noted the extreme conditions people in the United States had to contend with during the rise of the CCC, including a per capita average of $750 per family, 10,000 failed banks and a 25 percent unemployment rate. “Millions of families lost everything,” she said. The Civilian Conservation Corps was a public relief program for unemployed men between the ages of 18 and 24, providing manual labor related to the conservation and development of natural resources in rural areas from 1933 to 1942. The CCC was part of the New Deal legislation proposed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, designed to provide relief for the nation’s unemployed youth during the Great Depression. It became a very popular program with the public, providing work for three million men. According to Atwood, there were between 13 to 15 CCC camps located within the Allegheny National Forest. “The CCC did a lot of recreation work,” Atwood said. “The crux of what they did in the ANF was recreation related.” The Atwoods helped spearhead a movement to place a statue in Warren County to honor CCC workers. That movement came to a head in 2007 when a statue was placed and dedicated at the Visitors’ Center in Starbrick. “We decided we wanted to continue doing something every year to remember these boys,” Karen Atwood said. “It’s good to remember the era that these fellows came out of. We’ve made a lot of friends with these guys. Some of them aren’t around anymore.” The ceremony moved to Betts Park later, where a wreath was placed on the Allegheny River in memory of deceased CCC veterans. The ceremony concluded with remarks by Dr. Michael Schultz, a filmmaker and historian; Rosemarie Gusciora, a CCC legacy; and Charles Varro, a CCC alumni and historian. During closing remarks, Deb Campbell, of Tiona, said, “If there is any way to start up the CCC again, I wish they would do it. We need to show these young people today how to work hard.”

Article Photos

Times Observer photo by Dean Wells
CCC ceremony
Karen Atwood, a member of the CCC Statue Committee, makes remarks during a rededication ceremony held at the Visitors’ Center in Starbrick on Friday.

 
 

 

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