Members of the Civilian Conservation Corps honored with a statue Submitted: 06/14/2015
EAGLE RIVER - The Civilian Conservation Corps helped to build parts of the Northwoods we know. However, not many people know what members of the group did.

"The history of CCC has been lost over the years, and we want to bring that back," said Libby Dorn, Trees for Tomorrow Executive Director.

The Civilian Conservation Corps was started during the Great Depression to give young men jobs, help families survive, and create a lasting legacy in forests, parks, and other sites throughout the U.S. On Sunday in Eagle River, those hard working men were honored at Trees for Tomorrow.

"It's really hard to tell the story of the Great Depression to people who always have shoes, to people who have cellphones," said Joan Sharpe, President of the National CCC Legacy Organization. "They don't understand what poverty really is."

Members of the Civilian Conservation Corps endured extreme conditions for very little pay during the Great Depression. Those hard working men of the CCC were honored with the dedication of a life-size bronze statue of a CCC worker. As of Sunday, there are 64 of these statues across the county. Three of them are in Wisconsin.

"The statues across the nation tell the story of the CCC to thousands of visitors every year," said Sharpe.

The process of getting a CCC statue built at Trees for Tomorrow can be credited to former CCC member Richard Chrisinger. He noticed that Trees for Tomorrow had several buildings that were built by the CCC.

"We have a rich legacy of CCC here right on our campus at Trees for Tomorrow," said Dorn. "And he made a strong suggestion that we go ahead and start pursuing purchasing a CCC statue."

Two years and $30,000 later, the statue now stands outside of the Trees for Tomorrow main education building. Organizers say that the statue will serve as more than just a historical monument in Eagle River, but it will also serve as a teaching tool for all of the many students that come to Trees for Tomorrow.

"We service about 10,000 students here every year," said Dorn. "And so we want to put this as one of the basic educational components, so every time one of a student steps on the property of Trees for Tomorrow, we want them to know about this history."

Story By: Anthony Bruno

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