Vanis Tom Halterman
The West Virginia State Civilian Conservation Corps Museum Association is proud to announce that Vanis Tom Halterman of Mathias, Hardy County, West Virginia was officially inducted into the West Virgina State CCC Museum Association Hall of Fame, Saturday, October 18, 2014.
The induction was held during ceremonies during the Fall CCC Jubilee Reunion at the Quiet Dell United Methodist Church.
Vanis Tom Halterman was born at Mathias, West Virginia, July 10, 1922. He is the son of the late James Ward Halterman and Nellie Wilkins Halterman. His family were farmers. Our honoree attended the Buckhorn School and finished fifth grade at Dove Hollow School. Because of vastly deteriorating economic conditions, he was forced to quit school at that time. At the age of sixteen, Tom enrolled in the Camp Hardy CCC 1524, SP2, near Mathias. He also served at Camp Morgan, Company 1523, near Berkeley Springs, West Virginia. While at Camp Hardy, Halterman served in various ways. “I had to learn the hard way all my life. I felt like a got an education there at Hardy. I learned forestry, demolition and also he completed classes in first aid and advanced first aid. He remembered being in officer training for six weeks. “The head man, John W. Fuig, said to the CCC trainees. 'If you can't take orders, you can't give orders. If you can't take orders, get up and get the hell out.' Only four of us made it. The Commander was tough, but had a good heart.” He also related that their were some in charge who gave the CCC Boys no respect but most did.”
“One day, the lieutenant called me to his office and said we need a barber. I only had cut hair with sheers a couple times as a kid. I became the Camp Hardy barber and was ordered to the barber shop to start cutting hair.” Mr. Halterman related that every camp had a barber shop. Tom remembered that not long after the camp barber experience, he was transferred to the timbering crew. “It was tough work. We timbered what was needed for many of the other camps. They would order such and such a size log and we would cut to fit.” He clarified that while a CCC Boy he worked for the State of West Virginia when supplying all the necessary lumber for all the West Virginia Parks. Many times, the CCC worked hand in hand with the State.
On May 14, 2014, James Ray Walters and Richard S. Bailey; CCC board members, traveled to Lost River State Park and met with Tom Halterman at the lodge. While there, Mr. Halterman was presented with the West Virginia State CCC Museum Association medallion and Hall of Fame certificate. After the ceremony Mr. Halterman traveled about a mile and a half from the lodge to the actual sight of Camp Hardy. Only the Officer's Quarters still remained. He led us to the exact location of the barracks and support buildings along Howard's Lick Road. He gave the museum much detailed information about Camp Hardy and those he met there. “I will never forget. They gave me an education and that gave me discipline and confidence to feel that I could do anything I put my mind to do.” He added. “That's what the CCC meant to me and many many others who served in those camps so long ago, now.”
Mr. Halterman also served at Camp Berkley Springs. While there, he worked on the park lake, swimming pool, and tennis court. “I was only there six weeks. The town was very small with not much to do.” he recalled.
After CCC, Tom worked in Baltimore during WWII in the shipyards. Later, he came back to Mathias and worked as a barber. He worked for various construction projects throughout West Virginia and surrounding states. Mr. Halterman served as Maintenance Supervisor for the Hardy County School and was elected and served ten years on the Hardy County Board of Education. He retired in 2010 as a very successful auctioneer. He was very well known in the region.
The Halterman's are faithful attendees for eighty years at the Mathias Bretheren Church.
Mr. Halterman, 93 and his wife Belvia 92, continue to run the farm at Whetzel Hollow near Mathias, West Virginia. They have two children, three grandchildren, three great granddaughters and one great grandson.
On May 13, 2015, representatives of the West Virginia State CCC Museum visited Lost River State Park and a meeting. Mr. Halterman was the lone CCC Boy to attend. Our Honoree proudly displayed his rare personal collection of photo albums and memories of Camp Hardy. A CCC cake was presented by State CCC Museum Reps Bailey and Walters. Halterman enjoyed cutting the CCC Hall of Fame Cake and enjoyed reminiscing in detail about the additional history of his time in the CCC.
Tom Halterman standing at exact location of Camp Hardy, May 14, 2014.
According to Tom, this building, the officer's quarters, is the only remaining original building.