Dedication ceremony to be held at RRSP Saturday
This Saturday, Roaring River State Park's new CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps) Worker Statue will be dedicated during a special ceremony at the CCC Pavilion on Highway F in the park. The ceremony, which is open to the public, is scheduled to begin at 3:30 p.m.
"We are very honored to have a statue like this in the park," said Dusty Reid, park superintendent. "Missouri State Parks has always worked to preserve the work of the CCC, which includes trails, buildings, infrastructure and parts of the hatchery.
"We have also worked to teach others about the valuable contributions made by this group," continued Reid. "The statue is another way to pay tribute to the boys of the CCC and to raise awareness for all the ways they continue to contribute to our quality of life."
The ceremony will include addresses by the following dignitaries: Bill Bryan, Missouri State Parks director; Joan Sharpe, CCC Legacy president; and Richard Chrisinger, a former CCC worker and the principle donor for the statue project.
Area CCC members and their families are invited to attend the special event and the spaghetti dinner scheduled to be held after the ceremony.
"My father and I have been working for the last two years to raise the funds for a statue," said Chrisinger's daughter, Naomi Shaw. "With the cooperation of Missouri State Parks, the community and CCC Legacy, we are set to make the dedication on 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."
In 2010, Missouri State Parks unveiled a special CCC monument at Roaring River State Park. Shaw and Chrisinger had the opportunity to attend the event, which inspired Chrisinger to work to raise funds to install the CCC Worker Statue at the park.
"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."
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.
"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?"
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 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.
"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.
"Besides my father, there may be a few other CCC boys on hand," said Shaw. "It will be an opportunity to meet and honor the boys, as well as an opportunity for us to express our gratitude to the community for supporting the statue project. My dad is very thankful for the attention that is being given to the legacy of the CCC."
Gov. Jay Nixon could make an appearance during the event but his attendance has not been confirmed, said Reid. Norman Nichols, who was a member of CCC Co. 1713, is also planning to attend the event, which will conclude with the unveiling of the new CCC Worker Statue.
The Roaring River State Park staff has constructed the base for the statue. Staff members will also set the statue in place a day or two before the dedication ceremony, said Reid. The base was designed to match the existing CCC monument located in the picnic area on Highway F in the park.
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.