The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) Museum of South Dakota in Hill City held an open house and a housing for its newest exhibit — a restored 1935 GMC truck used by the CCC.
The truck was gifted to the museum by the family of Allen Goens of Basehor, Kan., and was dedicated Saturday, July 27.
Goens died in 2007 and his wife, Judy, said her husband would have been overwhelmed.
“It is a long-time coming,” she said. “My husband passed away 12 years ago so the truck was just sitting on our garage in our backyard deteriorating. … We decided as a family to donate the truck to where more people can enjoy it and see it.”
The Goens family, Judy Goens said, is very happy the truck has gone to a community that appreciates it as much as Hill City does.
Her husband would have been very happy to hear the truck start up, she added, and he would be very happy people would be able to enjoy the truck.
Otto Bochman, director of the CCC Museum, said there were a couple of CCC museum board members who helped get the truck up and running again. They spent about a day and half to two days to get it running.
“I also want to mention we got delayed (in housing the truck) because of the rain,” Bochman said.
Janet Wetovick-Bily, executive director of the Hill City Chamber of Commerce where the CCC Museum is located in the Visitor Information Center, said she thought about the truck that was donated.
Like the truck, the CCC workers were hard workers, she said, and Allen Goens exhibited those traits of persistence and dedication to restore the truck to perfection.
“I just simply wanted to say the Hill City Area Chamber of Commerce is very proud of our association with our wonderful CCC Museum, and we are grateful that they share space with us,” she said. “I have been telling everyone how wonderful it is to see the increase of traffic we have had — the visitors, the history lovers, those who had relatives in the CCC, and people who just love history in general. Just think about the impact the CCC had on the tourism industry in South Dakota. We are so grateful to the legacy the Goens family has given us in this beautiful truck, and we are so grateful to (Bochman) and all the members of the board of the CCC Museum.”
Kathy Skorzewski, mayor of Hill City, said she asked her brother (who is a history major) about the CCC, and she said her brother told her the CCC was an integral part to the Hill City community.
The city, she said, is very grateful for the CCC.
“I also extremely grateful to the Goens,” she said. “I look around and I see some young faces. We talked about history a little bit earlier. That is something we need to preserve. We are a strong, thriving community, and with wonderful people like the Goens who took the time and energy to do this and donated to a place where it can be enjoyed for generations to come, we have to be more than grateful.”