KEYSTONE, S.D. - Over the course of 14 years, nearly 400 workers worked tirelessly to carve one of the most iconic patriotic symbols in the United States: Mount Rushmore.
The last of those men and women just turned 98.
Nick Clifford was one of the hundreds of workers who braved harsh and dangerous conditions for a job that included long hours, low pay and times of uncertainty over their employment to bring sculptor Gutzon Borglum’s massive project to life.
Mount Rushmore's last living carver celebrates 98th birthday https://t.co/HMs9bNokmV— KOTA Territory News (@kotatweets) July 9, 2019
"They're all gone now. I'm the last one so I'm happy that my health is good, and I plan on living quite a while yet," Clifford told TV station KOTA, as friends and family gathered for his birthday celebration Monday night.
Clifford said friends and family came from all over the world to celebrate his life and the gift he helped create for our country.
"I've been in love with Mount Rushmore since I came here when I was 6, so the idea that I got to meet someone who created this mountain to me was just like I met a rock star," said Murita Marty, a friend of the Cliffords who traveled from Arizona.
Nick and his wife of 45 years, Carolyn, are still involved with Mount Rushmore, answering questions people may have about the mountain and carving.
"Somebody else was going to write a book about Nick and I just decided since I have the questions and Nick wrote out the answer, we just publish our own," Carolyn told KOTA.
"It makes me feel really good that all those people come, and I get to talk to them and tell them the story about Mount Rushmore," Clifford said.
Clifford has been the last living carver of Mount Rushmore for the last 12 years. The carving was finished in 1941.
Information for this story from the National Park Service and KOTA-TV.
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