Biography of Eugene Nero

CCC Guest, Camp Danville, Oakwood, Illinois

   I was never in the Three "C" camp, but I thought that you might enjoy my story.

   I had two older brothers, both in Camp Danville, at Oakwood, Illinois, and both were Barracks Leaders at the same time.

   As you know, the depression was in full swing, and since I lived alone with my father, who was not working, things were just a little hairy. I had a place to live and food, but everything was a little scarce. Somehow, and to this day no one seems to know for sure how, my brothers were able to arrange a two week "visit" at the camp for me. It was arranged, and I went up from Staunton, Illinois, to Danville on the old ITS train.

   At the camp, I was treated like a regular member, given a place to sleep, and plenty to eat. Of course, they did make me work. This was a camp were they were making a park out of the old Coal Strip Mines, by interconnecting small bodies of water, and making trails through the whole area.

   It was the week of the State Fair in Springfield, Illinois, and a bunch of the people in the camp were sent down there for a kind of a day off. They let me go along, and I will remember that ride for a long time. We were riding in an open pick up truck, and it was quite cool. Since I had to ride in the back and did not have a proper coat, I soon started to get quite cold. The driver stopped the truck and let me ride in front (against the rules). I also rode there on the way home.

   My stay at the camp was two weeks, and nothing great happened, but how can I ever forget the kindness of some person or persons, still unknown to me, who went out of their way, and probably could have gotten in trouble if caught, to help a kind of uninformed 16 year old, to have a couple of weeks of pleasant interlude in a pretty drab life at that time.

   Not a very interesting story about life in the C's, but I thought that you might like to know that there were some great people who went out of their way to give a little help where it did some good.

----- Eugene E. Nero

Curator's Note: A Very interesting story and the only one I have heard of an unofficial working guest at a CCC Camp.

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