Watoga State Park hosts CCC reunion

The 21st Watoga State Park CCC Reunion was held June 8 at the assembly room at Watoga State Park in Pocahontas County.

Ed Hager, who now resides in North Carolina, organized and served as master of ceremonies. Hager gave the welcoming and noted that a number of artifacts have been donated during the past year. The pledge was recited and a moment of silence for deceased members of the CCC Family was held.

Hager’s father, John E. Hager, served in the CCC during the late 1930s at Camp Thornwood in Durbin, and was one of the founders of the CCC Museum at Watoga State Park.

The lone CCC veteran attending was Luke Armentrout of Frank, who now resides in Canton, Ohio. Armentrout was recognized for his service.

Park superintendent Mark Wiley addressed the attendees concerning the state of the CCC Museum.

“We are planning a major change in the next year or so,” Wiley said. “The CCC Museum will be moved from its current location to the site of the lodge where the public will have better access and there will be more room for the displays.” Wiley introduced newly promoted assistant superintendent Kelly Smith.

Representing the West Virginia State CCC Museum Association were: Richard Bailey, secretary and PR, Bridgeport; Dorothy Gunno, board member, Cross Lanes (Charleston); Sonny Gunno, member, Cross Lanes; and Jimmy Ray Walters, board member and CCC parade float chair, Beverly.

Bailey updated everyone on the state of the West Virginia State Museum, which is located in Harrison County.

“The young men of the Civilian Conservation Corps built most of the structures here at Watoga State Park during the 1930s,” Bailey said. “This museum and the State Museum in Harrison County are helping keep alive the proud legacy of the CCC which benefited infrastructure across this nation during the Great Depression.

“We are proud to be part this wonderful CCC Family and help keep alive this great heritage.”

Bailey concluded by inviting the CCC Family to the annual Fall CCC Jubilee set for Oct. 19 at the Quiet Dell United Methodist Church assembly room in Harrison County.

The 39 attendees enjoyed viewing a CCC Reunion video taken at Gauley River during the 1980s and displays of CCC artifacts from Mr. Hager’s collection, the Watoga CCC Museum, and the West Virginia State CCC Museum, Quiet Dell, Harrison County. Those attending were from Maryland, North Carolina, Ohio and Virginia.

Good fellowship and a covered dish dinner were enjoyed by all. Tours of the Watoga CCC Museum were held and plans were discussed for next year’s June 2014 Watoga State Park CCC Reunion.