Civilian Conservation Corps Statue

Celebrate the spirit of the Civilian Conservation Corps on September 21, 2019! All are welcome to the free day with live music, food trucks, and more!

Sharon Viadella and Friends of Pachaug Forest Volunteers raised over $24,000 to build the second Civilian Conservation Corps Worker Statue commemorating the boys of the CCC.

Make a donation to fund the plaque to recognize the spirit of the CCC!

The CT CCC Museum in Stafford Springs on Saturdays & Sundays from 10:00am-4:00pm. The historical museum honors the young men who worked hard to build our national and state forests and parks.

Join CT DEEP and Friends of Pachaug Forest for the Unveiling and Dedication of Camp Lonegren of the Civilian Conservation Corps on September 21,209

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Why I got involved in the Civilian Conservation Corps

By Sharon Viadella

My journey with the CCC’s started around the year 2010.

 

For years I’ve had a picture hanging in my home, the picture is of my dad and a football team. The jerseys the players wore all had the number 179 on them.  A friend who I showed the picture to said they were the CCC boys from camp 179.

Not long after I saw an article in the Norwich Bulletin about a presentation being held at the VFW in Norwich CT about the CCC.  I attended the presentation and met Pam Brand the host and Marty Podskoch who was giving the presentation and had written and published the book “Connecticut Civilian Conservation Corps Camps: History, Memories and Legacy of the CCC”.  Following the presentation, they were taking donations for the first CCC Worker Statue in the State of CT.  Marty told me how I could get the information about my dad and it took off from there. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to know my dad well as I lived in a foster home from age 2-10. My mom and dad had been divorced and growing up my dad never mentioned anything about the CCC’s.

 

September 29, 2013:

Fundraising for the 1st Worker Statue seemed to stop for a while when I saw that Marty was doing another presentation; this time at the CCC Museum in Stafford Springs CT.  I started telling people about the CCC’s and began asking for donations for our states first statue.  I was told the location for the Connecticut’s 1st CCC Worker Statue had been decided upon already, it is going to be placed at Chatfield Hollow State Park in Killingworth CT.

 

2016 to Present:

In the year 2016 we were notified the State of CT had chosen as their desired location for a State Police Firearms Training Facility on a pristine 113-acre parcel of private prime agricultural farmland location nestled in the heart of Pachaug State Forest.  This proposed facility was within ½ mile of my home and upset me deeply.  A grassroots group was organized to fight the state on this proposal and as we continued to meet it became clear we needed to develop another group, a 501(C)(3).  Friends of Pachaug Forest, Inc. (FOPF) was formed incorporated and granted 501 (c)(3) status on February 14, 2018.

As an active member of FOPF I discussed with their Board of Directors how fitting it would be to have a 2nd CCC Worker Statue placed in Pachaug State Forest.  My dad spent most of his time while in the CCC’s at Camp Lonergan, # 179 in the Pachaug State Forest.  In May 2018 FOPF discussed hosting a fundraiser/presentation featuring Marty Podskoch at Tamarack Lodge in Voluntown CT.  The event was held in December 2018.  

 

On 07-12-18 I emailed the CCC legacy and asked how much money has been raised for statue #1. They informed that $12,630 had been raised as of that date leaving an additional balance of $12,600 needed to purchase the statue.  I volunteered to help keep the CCC museum in Stafford Springs open on Sunday’s from 12 to 3 pm from Memorial Day through Columbus Day.  I began asking for donations and selling the CCC books written by Marty Podskoch, in addition I began looking into setting up a go fund me page but decided against it.  During our fight to stop the range from coming to Griswold we spent a lot of time in Hartford at the Legislative Office Building.  We began raising funds to hire a lawyer to fight the range and I was asking residents for money and telling them about the CCC’s and the presentation that was going to be at Tamarack Lodge in December.  In August 2018 I sent the CCC Legacy $1,200, bringing the total raised to just shy of $14,000.  Shortly after that time I received a message from Marty that Ted Schultz (another CT resident whose father was with the CCC) had been diagnosed with brain cancer. Teds father was in Camp Fernow in Eastford CT.  Ted and I had worked together at Electric Boat for a lot of years. On August 28. 2018, Joan Sharpe, President of the CCC Legacy notified me that Ted and his wife Gloria were sending a check for $5,000. I called Ted and told him I would match his donation of $5,000 and that we were going to get this done!

 

How fitting it was to have completed raising funds on Labor Day weekend 2018. More and more good news arrived, the state’s first CCC Worker Statue would be #75.  This was the number of my Dads football jersey when he played for the EB Diesels and even more exciting was to hear that Teddy was doing great following his surgery and Connecticut’s first CCC Statue was ordered.

 

On December 8, 2018 the FOPF fundraiser brought in donations of $9,003 we also received a generous donation from Maryanne Nieminen of 2,500. The good news continued… in January 2019 it was announced by Governor Ned Lamont that there would be no State Police Training Facility going in Griswold. We had won the fight!  At that point I contacted everyone who made donations to hire an attorney to fight the range and asked if they would like their money back or if they would like to put it towards the Connecticut’s 2nd CCC Statue. I received an overwhelming response from folks to put their money toward the CCC Statue for Camp Lonergan #179. 

 

As of April 1, 2019, we have funds totaling approximately $16,000 leaving an additional $8,000 needed.  We are expecting to hear soon on the results of a grant application submitted for funding towards the statue. On April 4, 2019 I signed a purchase agreement with the “CCC Legacy” in Edinburg, VA which would get the statue for Camp Lonergan in the fabrication stage.

 

The last 3 years have been very stressful but exciting too; everything happens for a reason. Everything is coming full circle. I am blessed to have played a small part in honoring the CCC boys, the dollar a day boys.  Connecticut was one of 10 states without a CCC Workers Statue and now very soon we will have two!!

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Pachaug Forest is full of serene beauty. As CT's largest preserved land, please keep the forest clean!

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