Leopoldo Gurule's two years of service in President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's historic Civilian Conservation Corps was barely a memory when on May 29 his daughter received a curious letter from an archaeologist.

"Mary Quirolo informed me that her company was conducting research and recording their findings on the buildings and landscape constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps at Elephant Butte, New Mexico," Dr. Graciela Morales-Scott said.

And, according to Quirolo, Gurule was the only one of 165 who worked on the CCC project from 1939 to 1941 that she could find.

So in early August, Gurule, his daughter, granddaughter Deborah Morales and 2-year-old great-grandson went to the site so Gurule and his family could help the archaeologist obtain a detailed account of the years he spent there. The family stayed in one of the cabins Gurule and his co-workers had built in 1940.

After concluding their findings, Quirolo and her colleagues Dr. Kenneth Brown and Marie Brown will prepare National Register nomination forms to preserve and protect the historic structures Gurule helped build.

His main purpose was to share the details of the hard work endured by "the boys." But for 86-year-old man, it was an immensely meaningful return.

"His memory was so very vivid," his daughter said. "It was exciting. He just came alive. He just started crying because he remembered how hard they worked."

The family expects to return again, this time much sooner than the more 66 years between Gurule's initial service and last summer's return.

"Kay Dunlap, Elephant Butte Lake State Park Manager has promised our family a personal invitation to the 75th Gala Celebration of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's `New Deal' of the 1930s," she said. "They want my dad to be part of it. We're making plans to take my dad to New Mexico again."