Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Civilian Conservation Corps

"My dad was for it 100 per cent, I’ll tell ya," remembered Vic Martinac. 'This will tame you down,' he said.'" Martinac had graduated from Annunciation High School in June, 1940, but as the Great Depression lingered, was having a hard time finding a job. Afraid he'd get into trouble, Martinac's dad urged him to sign up for the Civilian Conservation Corps, a New Deal Program for unmarried young men ages 18 - 25 who were unable to find jobs. "I had to go downtown, next to the courthouse, to sign up. I took an oath and became part of the government."
One of the most popular of President Roosevelt's programs, the CCC operated from 1933 to 1942, providing work for 3 million men while implementing needed conservation and construction projects in every state.
Martinac remembered, "They transported us to different camps along the mountainside west of Colorado Springs, near the Garden of the Gods. We built barrier walls, walking paths and a pretty good-sized dam. We got a lot done in six months.
"It was pretty programmed - the projects were all lined up - where we were going and how we were going to do the work.We got up at 5 o’clock and we were on the terrain at 7 am. It gave you time to get breakfast, go scrub your teeth and go again.
"We lived in quonset huts, got three meals a day and all our shots for typhoid and smallpox. That was a lot more food and medical care than a lot of guys were used to getting. I got paid a dollar a day, but I could only keep five dollars. The rest went home to my mother."
Martinac wasn't the only Globeville resident who benefited from the program. Joseph Shaball Sr., a veteran of World War I, was laid off from his job with the city of Denver at the beginning of the Depression. His son, Joe Shaball Jr., talked about his dad's experience, "It was terrible. My dad hadn’t worked for three years when he got a job with the CCC as a foreman building Red Rocks Amphitheater."
Experience gained in the CCC helped men find work after the Depression. Shaball recounted,"After my dad worked for the Cs for several years, he got a job with the mint until he retired."
Martinac also benefitted from the experience."I went to work for the Union Pacific Railroad when I got out of the Cs as a pipe fitter apprentice. Being in the CCC helped me get the job because it showed I wasn’t a lackluster personality, that I had responsibility. Responsibility was a key word in those days."

Company 184 in 1936. Left to Right: Foreman Eugene Streich, Foreman William S. Nelson, Foreman J. E. Cummins, Engineer Andrew J. Collins, Engineer Joseph Shaball, Foreman Herschel J. Wright, and Camp Commander, James Solan.
photo from History of the Civilian Conservation Corps in Colorado, Summer 1936; Littleton District and Grand Junction District. Compiled by L.A. Gleyre and C.N. Allerger, Denver, Colorado. Western Newspaper Union.

Private Joseph Shaball in his World War I uniform

Monday, February 17, 2014

Joseph Anton Zalar

When the Globeville Veteran's Monument was dedicated in 1948, there were 16 names inscribed on the memorial. The name of Joseph Zalar would be added four years later, the only listing from the Korean War.
Joseph Yelenick remembered, "He didn't have to go - that's the thing - but he didn't have any plans after high school, so he enlisted. He had this great car, a pretty little coupe, and he asked his mother to take care of his car while he was in the service. He was killed and his mom was driving around in this really fancy car."
Joseph was the son of Anton and Mollie Zalar and, with his older sister, Betty Ann, attended Holy Rosary School. Friends remember his as friendly, optimistic and having some artistic talents, which were evident in his drawings and sketches.
A member 17th Infantry Regiment, 7th Infantry Division, Joseph was killed in action November 22, 1951. In addition to the Globeville memorial, Joseph is remembered on the Colorado Freedom Memorial,  Panel: 20, Column: 3, Row: 64.

Colorado Freedom Memorial

Joseph Zalar is the second from left in the back row, 
eighth grade graduating class from Holy Rosary School, 1943

Joseph Anton Zalar

Friday, January 31, 2014

Harold Henry Dahmer

Harold Henry Dahmer enlisted in the Army Air Corps July 30, 1943 at the age of 26. Dahmer received basic training at Camp Aberdeen, Maryland, was assigned to 623rd Ordinance Ammunition Company and participated in operations in New Guinea. Killed in action September 19, 1944 during an assault on Moratei, Dahmer received the Purple Heart, Asiatic Pacific, American Theater and World War II Victory Medals. Dahmer was survived by a daughter, Lynn Arlene Dahmer, parents Mr. and Mrs. H. Dahmer, brothers Alvin and Albert Dahmer, and sisters Eleanor McCulloch and Helen Lammers.
Dahmer is also remembered on Panel 8, Column 4, Row 55 of the Colorado Freedom Memorial.

Colorado Freedom Memorial

John Robert Gracey, Edward Milton, Harold A. Shafer

The last three names listed in the Globeville Veteran's memorial book were John Robert Gracey, Edward Jay Milton, Jr. and Harold A. Schafer with the notation "no photo or information available." Although these veterans' names were engraved on the memorial itself, the circumstances of their deaths were not available at the time the monument was dedicated in 1948. But they have not been forgotten. Each of these servicemen from Globeville is honored for their sacrifice on the Colorado Freedom Memorial, Springhill Community Park, 756 Telluride Street, Aurora, Colorado, 80011.
Colorado Freedom Memorial

John Robert Gracey was a Fireman 1st Class, a member of the Naval Reserve and killed in action. He memorialized on Panel 12, Column 1, Row 26.
Colorado Freedom Memorial

Edward Jay Milton, Jr. was a Gunner's Mate 3rd Class in the Navy who was killed in action. He is honored on Panel 3, Column 4, Row 34.
Colorado Freedom Memorial

Harold A. Schafer was 28 years old when he was killed in action December 10, 1944. A Sargeant with the Army Air Corps, Harold is buried at Fort Logan and listed on Panel 8, Column 2, Row 32 of the
Colorado Freedom Memorial

Photo ® Bruce Quakenbush for the Colorado Freedom Memorial

Friday, January 17, 2014

Lester Samuel Riedel, Frank E. Tezak, Henry Weber

Lester Samuel Riedel was born on June 10, 1921 and enlisted in the Army in August, 1942. Riedel received training at Fort Bliss, Texas, Indio Desert, California, and Richmond, Virginia before departing from Fort Devins, New York, for England to participate in an assault on the European mainland. With 531st Anti-Aircraft Battalion, Battery C., Riedel invaded France on "D Day plus ten" and was killed in action July 11, 1944, near Cavagney, France. Riedel was awarded the Purple Heart, European Theater and American Theater Medals, the Good Conduct and World War II Victory Medals. Riedel was survived by his parents, Mr and Mrs. John Riedel, brothers Lee, Alvin,  John Jr., and Ralph Riedel, and sister Caroline Haubert.

The Tezak family lived on 47th Avenue, right across from Holy Rosary Church. Frank was born on May 6, 1923 and enlisted in the Army Air Corps on March 18, 1943. Tezak received specialized training at Stephenville, Texas and was assigned to the 99th Division of the 395th Infantry- the Checkerboard Division. Tezak departed the US for the European Theater Setptember 23, 1944, was assigned to the First Army under General Hodges and participated in major European battles. Tezak was killed in action  March 1, 1945, near Cologne, Germany. Tezak received the Purple Heart, European Theater and American Theater, and World War II Victory Medals. Tezak was survived by his parents Mr. and Mrs. J. Tezak, and brothers Joseph, Anthony and Louis Tezak. Tezak is one of the men who is honored on the Colorado Freedom Memorial - Panel 9, Column, Row 19.

When France fell to the Nazis in June 1940 many in the United States felt the conflict edging closer and may have motivated eighteen-year-old Henry Weber to enlist in the Navy in October. After receiving his basic training at San Diego, California, Weber was assigned to the USS California, one of the battleships sunk at her moorings during the attack on Pearl Harbor. Initially reported Missing in Action, Weber was later confirmed as wounded and assisted in the defense of Pearl Harbor. Weber was then assigned to the destroyer, USS Barton, which was sunk in the battle of Savo Islands, November 13, 1942. This time, Weber was confirmed Missing in Action. Weber was awarded the Purple Heart (2), American Defense, Asiatic-Pacific, American Theater, and World War II Victory Medals. He was survived by Mr. and Mrs. John Weber, sisters Molly Seegar, Pauline Wolf, Natalie Brantner, Amelia Campbell, and Matilda Weber and brothers Samuel, Reuben and Albert Weber.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Samuel Graff, Charles Arthur McClellan, Albert R. Metzger

Samuel Graff was 24 years old when he enlisted in the Army and traveled to Camp Roberts, California for basic training in November, 1943. Assigned to the 41st Division, 163rd Infantry, Company I, Graff participated in operations in New Guinea, Netherlands, East India and the Philippines. Graff was killed in action during an invasion of Mindinoa, Sambo Ango on March 19, 1945 and received the Purple Heart, Asiatic Pacific, American Theater and World War II Victory Medals. His family were members of the First German Congregational Church in Globeville and he was survived by his sisters Natalie Befus, Ruth Mitchell, Irene and Rosalie Graff, and brothers Carl and Alex Graff.

Charles Arthur McClellan was 25 years old and married when he enlisted in the Navy March 6, 1942. He did his basic training in San Diego, California and was assigned to LST-455, a repair ship, as an electrician's second mate. McClellan was reported "missing in action" September 12, 1943 as a result of a direct hit by enemy bombers during a bombing attack in the South Pacific. McClellan received Purple Heart, Asiatic Pacific, American Theater and World War II Victory Medals. He was survived by his widow, Mrs. Helen Kornafel McClellan, and his mother, Mrs. H. W. McClellan.

29-year-old Albert R. Metzger enlisted in the US Army Air Force January 6, 1941, before the United States entered the conflict and received his basic training with the 120th Observation Squadron of the National Guard.  Metzger was later assigned to 153rd Observation Squadron and departed the US in August 1942. As a Liaison Pilot in Bath, England, Metzger received orders to server as an observation pilot for the 190th Field Artillery and was killed in a crash near Market Livingston, England, June 27, 1943. Metzger was awarded the Purple Heart, American and European Theater Medals and was survived by his parents, Mr and Mrs. John Metzger, and sisters Gertrude Metzger and Mrs. Alma Hartfiel.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Anticipating Christmas

There was a time before door-buster sales, Black Friday, Gray Thursday, Christmas in July, 24-hour advertising, piped-in carols, gift catalogs and decorations that appear in the fall. Despite the lack of constant reminders, the days leading up to Christmas in Globeville (and in America before World War II) were filled with hope and anticipation.
For months, women would set aside a little in their food budget to afford the walnuts, honey, raisins, and poppyseed to make potica, kolache, kuchen, blini or the other ethnic treats that reminded immigrants of home. Obtaining oplatek, a wafer impressed with religious scenes and eaten before Wigilia, (the Christmas dinner) required a conversation with the pastor of St. Joseph's Polish Church or a request (well ahead of time) from a relative in Poland. Baking family favorites was a day-long event that involved helpful children and the telling of family stories in the process.
And there were choir practices, play rehearsals and special scripture readings during Advent.  Traditions from Eastern Europe, such as setting an extra table setting for an unexpected visitor or to remember someone who died, were preserved. Hymns, legends and symbols from the Old Country were maintained in church services and lodge events.
Children from large immigrant families didn't expect a lot of toys, and were likely to receive practical things like socks, sweaters, or shoes. Ed Wargin longed for a bike, but got a donkey because the animal could transport building supplies for Ed's father, and June Jackson remembers the delight of receiving the doll her older sister Helen had outgrown. Many old timers fondly recall the sack of hard candy distributed at church, probably donated by grocers Carl Gerhardt or John Yelenick. And a Christmas tree was a genuine treat, maybe purchased at Bomareto's, fresh, fragrant and decorated with strings of popcorn, lights, glass ornaments and tinsel.
Our current preparations for Christmas seem to involve the non-stop activities of shopping, wrapping, eating, attending multiple gatherings, texting and posting. Yet there are many of us who miss the richness and flavor of those earlier times.
Here's wishing you some memories of a simpler time as we await the birth of Jesus.

Potica or Povitica