The California Conservation Corps (CCC) and four former California governors: Attorney General Jerry Brown, George Deukmejian, Pete Wilson and Gray Davis, were honored at a reception last week in downtown Los Angeles.

League President Robin Lowe had an opportunity at the League of California Cities-sponsored event on Thursday night to celebrate the accomplishments of the California Conservation Corps (CCC) and recognize the strong support for the program by the former governors.

Because Gov. Wilson was unable to attend the event, Lowe read a statement on his behalf. League Los Angeles President and Azusa Council Member Angel Carrillo served as the evening’s master of ceremonies. More than 200 people attended the CCC tribute including Corpsmembers, CCC supporters, elected and appointed officials.

Lowe, a council member from Hemet in Riverside County, told the assembled crowd how vitally important the CCC is and thanked the governors for their commitment to the program.

“It is a privilege for me to honor the CCC because I know first hand the contribution Corpsmembers make to local communities on behalf of the state of California. It’s through the leadership of then Gov. Jerry Brown that this valuable program was created in 1976,” said Lowe. “This program has provided an opportunity for California’s youth to contribute and serve. I am grateful that these four governors championed the CCC and that it has continued to be supported by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, and hopefully future governors.”

CCC, which is one of the largest programs of its kind in the country, trains young people to assist with natural resource work and emergency response for more than 250 local, state and federal agencies. Corpsmembers execute a wide variety of work which includes landscaping, trail building, tree planting, brush clearance, minor construction, wildlife habitat improvement, flood prevention, sandbagging against floods, fighting fires, assisting with oil spill cleanup and helping with earthquake recovery. This cost effective labor force has proven invaluable for local government.

Originally created in 1976, more than 140,000 Californians have served in both the state and local Conservation Corps. There are 1,300 active Corpsmembers working throughout California today. The program, which was initiated by then Gov. Jerry Brown, was made a permanent state agency by Gov. George Deukmejian.