CCC Worker Statue to be dedicated in RRSP

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

A special dedication ceremony has been scheduled for the new CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps) Worker Statue that will be placed in Roaring River State Park this year. The ceremony will be held at the CCC Pavilion on Highway F from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, May 4.

"My father and I have been working for the last two years to raise the funds for a statue, the CCC Worker, to be erected at Roaring River State Park," said Naomi Shaw. "I'm happy to report the purchase is complete. With the cooperation of Missouri State Parks, the community and CCC Legacy, we are set to make the dedication on May 4, the 80th anniversary of the CCC.

"We seek to honor any and all CCC members or family members," continued Shaw. "Our hope is that future generations will look upon the memorials at Roaring River and take stock of the invaluable contribution of the CCC."

Missouri is home to the second CCC Worker Statue that was installed in the United States. The statue sits on a natural stone base near the now closed Jefferson Barracks Headquarters outside St. Louis. The new statue in Roaring River will be the second CCC Worker Statue installed in Missouri and one of nearly 60 statues that have been erected across the country.

"We are celebrating the statue dedication, but more than that, we are celebrating the boys," said Shaw. "It is the 80th anniversary of the CCC, so it naturally follows that not many of the boys are still alive.

"Norman Nichols is one that hopes to attend," continued Shaw. "He is 94, and the last living member of CCC Co. 1713, (which worked in Roaring River) that I have been able to find."

CCC Co. 1713 is credited with constructing 33 buildings, completing six acres of landscaping and topographical and linear surveys and building fish raceways, a hatchery building and miles of roads and trails during their tenure at Roaring River in the 1930s.

"Like most of my generation, I didn't know much about the CCC until I traveled with my father after the death of my stepmother in 1997," said Shaw. "The CCC was a footnote in my history book along with the number of President Roosevelt's New Deal Alphabet soup of programs. I'm almost ashamed to say that my family enjoyed the fishing, camping, hiking opportunities of Roaring River State Park for 30 years prior to even thinking about how it came to be developed.

"In the last decade, I've had many occasions to travel with my father to CCC reunions and national gatherings," continued Shaw. "Each year, I've learned more about their contribution. Sadly, the boys, as they call themselves, have dwindled dramatically. My appreciation and understanding has grown. What a treasured part of our history those nine years between 1933 and 1942 were, but if my generation could grow up unaware what about my kids and grandkids? How would they learn what a pivotal impact the CCC made on our country's infrastructure, agriculture, recreation and conservation?"

Following the CCC gathering in 2010, when Missouri State Parks unveiled the CCC monument in Roaring River State Park, Shaw's father, Richard Chrisinger, decided it would be fitting to bookend the monument with the CCC Worker Statue. Chrisinger was a CCC worker in another state.

"He was a product of the Depression, traveling the rails, working on the family farm until there was no work," said Shaw. "His grandmother was instrumental in talking the local CCC recruiter into enrolling him even though he was underage. He served the first time at Camp Rusk (in Wisconsin) from October until April of 1938. It changed his life. He later served again in Oregon, and easily transitioned to serving his country in the military during World War II, Korea, Vietnam and other conflicts."

From 1933 to 1942, the CCC built 800 state parks, 46,854 bridges, 4,622 fish rearing ponds, 1,865 drinking fountains, 27,191 miles of fence, 204 lodges and museums, 3,470 fire towers and 8,065 wells and pump houses across the United States.

CCC workers also planted around three billion trees, restored 3,980 historic structures, installed 5,000 miles of water supply lines, improved 3,462 beaches and surveyed and mapped millions of acres and thousands of lakes.

The program taught 40,000 men to read and write and produced over 45,000 truck drivers each year. More than 102,000 young men were enrolled in the program to help develop Missouri's resources.

The idea for the CCC Worker Statue was initiated in 1996 by a group of former CCC workers in Michigan. Since then, 59 additional statues have been added across the country, including the one located at Jefferson Barracks, the original headquarters of the National Association of CCC Alumni.

The cost of the CCC Worker Statue is $21,000 and shipping costs are $1,180, which means $22,000 was raised for the project.

"These are hard times, and many people gave," said Shaw. "People don't give unless they care. That is what we are looking for, care. If they care enough to give, then they care enough to share."

For more information on the CCC Worker Statue, call 540-984-8735, visit www.ccclegacy.org or write to: CCC Legacy, P.O. Box 341, Edinburg, VA 22824.

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