Reflection from Raymond Yeackly
The following is a reflection from Raymond Yeackly regarding his CPS experience:
In April of 1943, I volunteered to go to Missoula, Montana, to help fight forest fires…I had a Harley Davidson motorcycle, and I told the government I would ride my motorcycle up to Montana instead of taking a train. Vernon Fleming was another CO at the camp in Camino, California, and he had a motorcycle too. He…said he wanted me to ride down to his folks in Reedley on Saturday and Sunday before I left for Montana on Monday morning.
So three weeks later I woke up in a hospital in Fresno, California. They told me Vernon and I were riding along the highway about ten feet apart. A woman who was just learning to drive pulled up to a stop sign, saw us coming, got excited and stepped on the throttle instead of the brakes and pulled out in front of me.
We were going about thirty-five or forty miles-per-hour. I flew over the handle bars and hit the side of her car head first, fracturing my skull with a two inch crack about the left eye. The I flew ten feed in the air and landed on the concrete—putting a two inch fracture in the back of my head.
A filling station man was close by and saw it happen and called an ambulance, but the ambulance wouldn’t haul me in because I was a conscientious objector and didn’t have much money because we didn’t get wages. A Mennonite happened past and saw my lying there by the ambulance, so he paid them to haul me in to the Reedley hospital, but they wouldn’t touch me for some reason. They called Fresno County Hospital, and they sent an ambulance down to get me, forty miles away, so it was two hours before I got first aid….
I was in the hospital for six weeks, from April 16 to May 24, 1944…but I don’t remember much of it because of my brain concussion. Then I went back to the camp at Camino, California, but I couldn’t work much because of my headaches and other problems…I was in camp at Camino, California, until January 30, 1945, when I got a medical discharge and was given bus fare to get back home. I was finally released after more than three years of CPS without any wages.
--Taken from Stories of Peace and Service, Stanley G. Hill, Jr., 1990, pp. 124, 125. Used with permission.