CCC workers celebrate contributions 75 years later

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An 18-year-old Harold Mattern welcomed the idea of clearing forest trails and building bridges and dams as a member of President Roosevelt's Civilian Conservation Corps.

It was the Great Depression. Many in his home state of Connecticut were desperate for employment, hoping to earn enough to feed their families.

"My father was out of work so I was eligible. I was single and I was out of school and all, and unemployed," said Mattern, now 93."It was good physical work, good hard work. But we were well-fed and well cared for."

This year marks the 75th anniversary of Franklin D. Roosevelt signing the Emergency Conservation Act, which created the CCC and changed the lives of up to 4 million young men while reinvigorating a struggling nation.

Events are being held across the country to pay tribute to the CCC's work from 1933 to 1942. Statues are being erected in South Dakota, New Mexico and Arkansas. State legislatures in Florida, Virginia, Michigan, Maine and Massachusetts have passed resolutions honoring the CCC. Virginia, West Virginia and Idaho, enacted laws setting aside March 31 of each year for a special day of recognition — the date FDR signed the CCC bill into law.

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