James Dolan Lewis
West Virginia State Civilian Conservation Corps Museum Association is
proud to announce that James Dolan Lewis was inducted into the West
Virginia State CCC Hall of Fame on Saturday, October 19, 2013 during
ceremonies at the Fall CCC Jubilee held at the Quiet Dell United
Methodist Church, Quiet Dell, West Virginia.
Mr. Lewis was born on August 3, 1920 on the family farm at Selbyville, West Virginia, near Rock Cave and Buckhannon, West Virginia. He is the son of Sheridan and Connie Crites Lewis. James and his wife, Veta Balis Lewis, today reside on farms at Salem and Selbyville, West Virginia. He has a daughter, Connie Dugas.
Our Inductee joined the Civilian Conservation Corps in 1937. He served at Camp DG 19 Delmues #590, Projects #2597 and #3238, Pioche, Nevada. Mr. Lewis then was transferred back to West Virginia to Ronceverte, SCS5, #3510, Camp Lewis, near Lewisburg, West Virginia, in the Greenbrier Valley.
While serving in the CCC in Nevada, Lewis drove a truck. The CCC Boys helped keep the big ranch viable by building and maintaining roads. During his stay at Camp Lewisburg, he was a laborer. Our inductee remarked: “While out there in Nevada on the big ranch, we got really good food. I was very impressed that the CCC leaders had much better control than the regular military. They were number one and we were expected to be number one, too. They made a man out of me. Lots of boys came in the CCC just out of high school. Some of those boys didnt know how to work, but I did because I was raised on a farm. The CCC taught them city boys how to work and work hard.”
After our Honoree left the CCC, he joined the U.S. Army Air Corps and served during World War II. He three years duty at Andrews Air Force and later transported to the Philippines, Icashima near Okinawa where he was in a support role in maintenance of aircraft. He received the Good Conduct Medal and various campaign ribbons. Our Honoree was serving in Japan when the Japanese Envoy landed on Buckman Air Base just before the surrender.
Mr. Lewis continued in the U.S. Air Force after WWII and retired as Senior Master Sergeant, having served during the Korean Conflict, and the Vietnam War. He commented. “I have had so many experiences while in the Air Force all over the world. I really enjoyed it and learned from it.” He added. “I also served in England and Turkey in maintenance and support of the most modern of aircraft at the time.”
In retirement, James and Veta spend their time taking care of two farms at Helvetia and Salem, West Virginia. The couple travelled across this Nation and enjoyed a memorable tour of the Holyland. On May 24, 2014, a graduate of Pickens High School, he attended and was recognized during graduation at his alma mater. James and Veta have been active in the West Virginia CCC Museum Association attending many CCC reunions, jubilees, and donating several rare CCC antiques.
James D. Lewis during Spring 2014 CCC Jubilee.
James and Veta Lewis at Camp Woodbine, Richwood CCC Reunion August 19, 2012.