Joe joined The Civilian Conservation Corps at the age of 18, before enlisting in the Army. This was a public work relief program that operated from 1933 to 1943 in the United States for unemployed, unmarried men from relief families, ages 18–25. The CCC’s provided unskilled manual labor jobs related to the conservation and development of natural resources in rural lands.
During the time of the CCC's, volunteers planted nearly 3 billion trees to help reforest America, constructed more than 800 parks nationwide, upgraded most state parks, updated forest fire fighting methods, and built a network of service buildings and public roadways in remote areas. Joe spent his time mostly in Utah, building roads, driving trucks and felling trees. Of his pay of $30 a month, $25 went to help his mother. Joe's father died when he was 18.
When Joe returned to Roselle Park, NJ after the CCC's, he got a job at the Amity Lamp Shade factory in Garwood, NJ. The factory was located across the street from Marie Hilbrandt's house, by chance she also worked there. They met at work, fell in love and were married on December 26, 1942. Joe had enlisted in the Army on June 16, 1942.
Joe was given a 3 day leave over Christmas 1942. Marie and her sister Kathleen rushed to put together a Christmas Wedding. Joe and Marie had a brief Honeymoon (1 night) in New York City at the Lexington Hotel. The next day Joe went back to Fort George Mead, Maryland. After more traning, he shipped out for North Africa on February 8, 1943. His brigade arrived in Casablanca, French Morocco, February 20, 1943.
Joe is no longer with us, he passed away on September 28, 1996. Joe and Marie had 6 children (Linda, Valerie, Vivian, Loretta, Joseph and Marie). They made their home in Roselle Park, NJ. Joe was a long time Volunteer of the Roselle Park Volunteer Fire Department and the Roselle Park Volunteer Ambulance Squad. When Joe retired from IML Trucking, after many years as a driver and dock worker, they moved to Debary, FL. Marie is also gone, she passed away on August 13, 1999. We miss them everyday.
You can reach his children by using the "Contact Us" tab. If you knew Joe and Marie or had a family member in the Combat Engineers, we would like to hear from you.