Darrell Leon Sparks
West Virginia State
Civilian Conservation Corps Museum Association is proud to have inducted
Darrell Leon Sparks, posthumously, into the West Virginia State CCC
Museum Association Hall of Fame during ceremonies conducted at the
October 17, 2015 CCC Fall Honors Jubilee held at the Quiet Dell United
Methodist Church. Members of our Honoree's family, including his two
sons, Howard and Doug accepted the certificate and medallion.
Darrell L. Sparks was born July 26, 1925 at Craigsville, Nicholas County, West Virginia. He is the son of William and Beatrice Bell (Brown) Sparks. Sparks had three brothers; Delbert, Dorin, and Hilbert. He completed his schooling up to the eighth grade at the Mudlick School, Nicholas County.
The economic conditions in the West Virginia countryside continued to be very bad when Mr. Sparks joined the Civilian Conservation Corps. He enlisted and served his first stint at Camp Woodbine, Richwood, West Virginia. He was fifteen. After one month at Woodbine, Darrell was transferred to F6, Camp Thornwood, located near the mountain town of Durbin, in Randolph County.
According to his son, Doug, his father immediately feel in love with a military style of life and camp life. “Dad was very proud of his time in the CCC. He loved the structured military setting. While at Thornwood, he learned techniques of carpentry which he used his entire life. Dad was a serious, no nonsense kind of guy, straight laced. He had a strong belief in the Almighty and the Bible.” According to records, he served in the CCC from May 26, 1941 to November 25, 1941.
With the onset of World War II, Sparks immediately joined the U.S. Navy. He served as a Coxswain in the Pacific Theater with a Landing Craft Unit and was involved in numerous battles in the Island Hopping Campaign. While in the Navy during World War II he received numerous awards including The American Pacific Theater Ribbon, and the Victory Medal.
Our Honoree continued to serve our Nation leaving the U.S. Navy to be part of the U.S. Army while in occupied Japan in 1949. Darrell was among one of the first Army battalions to be sent to Korea when the Korean Conflict broke out. His battalion suffered many casulties. Mr. Sparks himself received the Purple Heart in the Korean Conflict for a gunshot wound over his left eye. At his discharge on February 3, 1953, he received the Combat Infantry Badge with Wreath, the Korean Service Medal, three Bronze Stars, and the Presidential Distinguished Unit Citation.
While serving in the U.S. Army Military Police in Baltimore, he met and married Vanita Ondean Heater, a Harrison County, West Virginia girl, in 1953. They started a family while living in Nicholas County, near Craigsville.
The Sparks family moved to Clarksburg, West Virginia in 1960 where Mr. Sparks worked in a coal mine owned by the Cleghorn Company. He later worked construction. He was a skilled dozer operator and good carpenter. He passed some of his carpentry skills on to his sons, Howard and Dave.
Darrell and Vanita were the parents of three sons, Howard, the eldest, Doug, and David. While raising his children, he developed an even stronger faith. This was very important to the Sparks family. Mr. Sparks died on June 7, 2000.