CCC Museum holds reunion

The 22nd anniversary of the opening of the Civilian Conservation Corps Museum at Watoga State Park was held June 14 at the park recreation center activity room.

Over 25 CCC family, friends, park officials and members of the West Virginia State CCC Museum Association attended.

Ed Hager, Mooreville, N.C., formerly of Cabel County, was master of ceremonies.

Hager’s father, John Hager, was one of the founders of the Watoga State CCC Museum.

The program consisted of a reading of the origins of Flag Day, the pledge of allegiance, remarks by Superintendent Mark Wylie, presentations by the State CCC Museum Association, videos of the CCC reunions and archives, and a covered dish dinner. The event was hosted by Ed and Carolyn Hager.

Wylie briefed the reunion on progress of moving the CCC museum from the current location to the main office building on the Watoga Campus.

“It will be several years before the transition can take place. But, we have it in motion.” Wylie said.

Charles Piercy, acting president of the West Virginia State CCC Museum, which is located at Quiet Dell in Harrison County, south of Bridgeport, addressed the body.

“We are proud of you for preserving the legacy of the CCC here at Watoga State Park through your wonderful museum and this annual reunion,” he said.

Piercy of Kingmont in Marion County, has been president of the State CCC Museum for six years. He updated everyone on the progress at the Quiet Dell Museum, the replica barracks, and other additions of CCC era artifacts added.

Piercy introduced the delegation representing the State CCC Museum who made the trip to celebrate the Watoga anniversary: Richard Bailey of Bridgeport, Dorothy and Sonny Gunno of Charleston, Charles and Pat Piercy, Kingmont, Reggie Rogers of Quiet Dell and James R. Walters of Beverly.

Richard S. Bailey, secretary of the State CCC Museum, was introduced by Ed Hager and presided over the special presentations from the West Virginia State CCC Museum Association.

CCC Distinguished Service Medallions were presented to Carolyn Hager, Ed Hager and Pat Piercy.

Bailey said, “Carolyn and Ed Hager have worked tirelessly to keep the museum here at Watoga going and have organized and hosted this event today for many years. Pat Piercy has done so much working behind the scenes for the State CCC Museum in Harrison County. It is time she is recognized for her tireless efforts.”

Medallions were presented by Wylie, Walters, and Piercy.

Another CCC board member was recognized. Dorothy Gunno’s father, John Harvey Turner, who was inducted into the CCC Hall of Fame, formally was presented the hall of fame certificate. Bailey also announced that Dorothy Gunno has been accepted into the Daughters of the American Revolution. She will be nominated for the 2015 West Virginia History Heroes recognition program in December.

Bailey announced that Luke A. Armentrout of Frank, now living in Canton, Ohio, will be formally inducted into the West Virginia State CCC Museum Association Hall of Fame at the Oct. 18 Fall CCC Jubilee at the Quiet Dell United Methodist Church.

Armentrout, who served at Camp 2586, CCC Camp Thornwood and Cheat River CCC Summer Camp, was presented a CCC Medallion and Hall of Fame certificate.

Armentrout said, “I am deeply honored. We, my family, had it rough here in the mountains, trying to survive during the Great Depression. I was only 14, but I wanted to be part of the CCC so bad, I told them I was 17.

“My aunt, who was a school teacher, was concerned that I was not in school, called the truant officer on me. The truant officer arrived at the Cheat Summer Camp and eight of us were taken out and made to go back to school, Greenbank High School,” he added. “Although I was only in the CCC for several months, I remember it was and still is one of the most important events in my life.”

The final presentation of the day went to Albert F. Shultz, 87, of Monterey, Va., who with his wife and daughter had heard about the reunion on Allegheny Mountain Radio. Shultz’s mother ran a boarding house where many CCC Boys stayed during their transitions. He met and befriended a number of CCC Boys, one of which became a life long friend. His CCC friend recently passed away.

“When I heard about this reunion, I wanted to be here for the memories of those West Virginia CCC boys that I thought so much of,” Shultz said.

“I am and was always a strong supporter of the CCC. It was a great benefit for our country.”

Hager thanked everyone for attending and announced the next CCC reunion at Wataga is being planned for June 2014.