New Castle News

May 30, 2013

CCC memories shared with the community

By Staff
New Castle News

NEW CASTLE — The commemorative Civilian Conservation Corps statue provided the backdrop for four local former CCC “boys.”

The men, who served between 1939 and 1942 when the program ended, spoke at the May meeting of the Lawrence County Historical Society, which took place at Cascade Park. They shared memories of their teenage years spent at CCC camps in Virginia and Pennsylvania.

George Lamorella joined the CCC immediately after his graduation from New Castle High School in 1938. Angelo Nocera joined after eighth grade, saying he had made himself “a little older to meet the age requirement.”

Dan Micaletti and Don Kennedy also shared their camp recollections. Micaletti served at Pennsylvania’s Grand Canyon. He said workers were paid $30 a month — $25 of that was automatically sent home to their families. They could keep $5 as spending money and were provided with food, shelter and clothing.

They believed they had been treated well.

When asked by an audience member how the food was, they replied in unison, “Good.” One stated it was the first time he had had two pairs of shoes at the same time. They were supplied two pairs per year.

All have remained active in the local CCC Chapter, participating in various service projects throughout the years and raised the money for the CCC statue at Cascade Park. They also are responsible for historical markers for all CCC camp sites in Pennsylvania.

Nocera’s wife displayed a scrapbook of projects and the citations the men have received. Anyone can belong to the local chapter, they said, you need not have served.

Striving to help recovery from the Great Depression, the CCC provided young unmarried men — ages 17 to 25 — the opportunity to find work in forests and parks. Three million participated in the CCC’s nine years from 1933 to 1942. They planted three billion trees, constructed 800 parks and worked in existing parks all over the nation.

All four of the local participants went on to join the armed forces when the CCC program ended in 1942.

Three said that the CCC had trained them well for service in the Army. Don Kennedy joined the Navy after his CCC days.