Celebrating a Community Hero
|A new historically important preserve has been named for local WWII veteran Bob Vaucher (c). His family, including three children, gathered for a dedication at the Bridgewater Council meeting on the 75th VJ Day.|
When World War II hero Bob Vaucher was not flying one of his 117 combat missions, he would sit with his comrades at night and talk about what they would do if they made it home. Their commitment: We will do something to improve our communities.
Bob came home to Bridgewater Twp., NJ, where he made good on his promise. Raising a family, the community had no high school – so he built one. He spearheaded the Blue Ribbon Committee that established Raritan Community College. He was the force behind leadership decisions. And, when the land near his home, formerly owned by his friend John Wemple, was proposed for development, he jumped into action.
Working with his neighbors, Bob joined with D&R Greenway Land Trust to ensure its preservation. To fill a gap in public funding, D&R Greenway offered a challenge from our Revolving Land Fund and 77 donors answered the call. The land was forever preserved in 2019.
This past week, Bridgewater Township and D&R Greenway dedicated the protected property. A sign for the new ‘Vaucher Revolutionary Preserve at Steele’s Gap’ will be erected across from Bob’s home on Foothill Road, along the Washington-Rochambeau National Historic Trail.
As WWII ended, Bob was selected to lead 525 B-29 Super Fortress bombers over the US Missouri in Tokyo Bay while Japan formally surrendered, in the traditional Show of Force, on September 2, 1945. Back in his home community of Bridgewater, Bob was a formidable force for preservation.
You can see the dedication and hear 101-year-old Bob Vaucher speak HERE, beginning at 1:03:21. You can also watch this story of preservation by clicking the video image below.
History and heroes live on in this green legacy of land.
~ Linda J. Mead, President & CEO, D&R Greenway Land Trust
D&R Greenway Land Trust, an accredited nonprofit, is close to reaching a new milestone of 21,000 acres of land preserved since 1989. By preserving land for life and creating public trails, it gives everyone the opportunity to enjoy the great outdoors. The land trust’s preserved farms and community gardens provide local organic food for our neighbors—including those most in need. Through strategic land conservation and stewardship, D&R Greenway combats climate change, protects birds and wildlife, and ensures clean drinking water for future generations. D&R Greenway’s mission is centered in connecting land with people from all walks of life.
D&R Greenway’s Johnson Education Center, home to its art galleries in Princeton, is currently closed to ensure health and safety due to COVID. D&R Greenway Land Trust, One Preservation Place, Princeton NJ 08540