When CCC crews are working on emergencies, they never know who they’re going to meet!
My name is Alex.
We were on a Yucca Valley fire back in 2006, I think. I’m from CCC San Diego, and Arnold Schwarzenegger was gonna do a presser. I’ve been working very hard way before this point. We cleaned the CalFire van that he was gonna pull up in. It was probably over 100 degrees outside. When our crew saw him, I looked to my C1 and said, “I need to take a picture with the governor.” She gave me and the leadworker an ‘okay’ to go.
And that’s my story.
Photo courtesy of Alex Lopez.
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My name Dyana McPherson, I was born and raised in San Diego County. I have always been an avid camper and hiker since I was a child. I was dissatisfied with my occupation at the time and I had friends at the La Cima fire center. I was encouraged by then Corpsmember Development Coordinator Victor Avila to join the CCC and see if I liked the work. My love of Redwood country inspired me chose the Humboldt district when I enrolled in the CCC in 1993, I ended up at the Fortuna Center as a corpsmember. At the time I wanted to attend college to go into the natural resources field. Working for the Salmon Restoration Project seemed like just the ticket. My ultimate goal even at enrolling in the CCC was to become a C-I and start a meaningful career.
After COMET I was assigned to Crew 3, Tom Merrill’s crew. I was one of four females at the entire center and only two of us were on the grade. I loved it. I learned everything I could and Tom saw potential in me and sent me to leadership training right away. I was a red hat within three months of joining. I eventually transferred to the Leggett / Ukiah center there I Interned for California Department of Fish and Game and was on Gary Burica’s crew. A position for an orange hat in Fortuna opened up and I was asked to apply. I returned to Fortuna and worked with the Corpsmember Development program (CMD) under Bill Vogel and Terry Stevens until I left in 1995. Corpsmember Development provides educational activities and training for the corpsmembers during their time in the CCC. Corpsmembers are required to attend a two week new employee orientation program called COMET. There are several requirements for obtaining the CCC scholarship at the end of your term. CMD provides these classes at night for the corpsmembers and many other educational opportunities. I really enjoyed being an orange hat for the COMET program that I decided I wanted to be a teacher and work for Corpsmember Development.
I took the Conservationist-I (C-I) exam and headed back to San Diego hoping to pick up a C-I position. I ran crews for three years with the CCC, working on conservation projects, Floods, Fires, Special Programs (Weatherization Energy Efficiency Retrofit Program) and COMET.
I got married in 1999 and returned to Northern California to live and work for CA Parks and Recreation. For a few years then a family member needed our help so we moved to Arizona. For eight years I lived in Kingman AZ, where I stayed home with my young children and attended Northern Arizona University’s college of Education. I enjoyed being a mom and spending time with my family. I graduated with my Bachelors of Science from NAU in Elementary Education. I still stayed in touch with my CCC roots and began a CCC Alumni Face book page. I volunteered to be the Admin and let folks know about things that go on with the current CCC and provide a place to connect former corpsmembers with their friends.
I had an opportunity to apply for a Program Coordinator position with a sister corps in Flagstaff called Coconino Rural Environment Corps (CREC). The program was funded from the Recovery Act. I was the program coordinator Energy Conservation Corps program/ County Retrofit Program Coordinator. I had anywhere from 3-5 crews at a given time. We worked on a variety of energy efficiency projects in Northern Arizona, mostly on the Navajo Reservation. One of the more memorable projects was with the Grand Canyon National Park; it took the crew to the bottom of the Grand Canyon retrofitting a building built by the Civilian Conservation Corps, and restoring five structures at the North Rim. Visiting the crews working at these sites was a memorable experience.
I now live in San Diego and I work for the State of California again raising my girls. I am looking forward to visiting current CCC crews and writing about their projects and experiences.