HomeEast Brunswick SentinelEB NewsOriginal builder fixes welcome wall after vandalism

Original builder fixes welcome wall after vandalism

By VASHTI HARRIS
Staff Writer

EAST BRUNSWICK – Tom Tiberi, the original builder of a wall destroyed by vandalism, has succeeded in raising funds to rebuild it and restore it to its original function of welcoming people to the Greentree housing development.

“It was deemed a suspicious incident because we were not able to identify whom or what caused the structure to fall. It occurred on Nov. 26, 2016,” said Lt. Sean Goggins, public information officer for the East Brunswick Police Department.

The development is located on Central Avenue off of Summerhill Road.

A resident of East Brunswick for 51 years, Tiberi has been a mason since 1956 and is the original mason of the wall 50 years ago. After seeing that the wall was  destroyed, he collected the original “Greentree” letters and asked township officials for help to rebuild the wall.

“We asked the township but they did not want to help rebuild it, but they did offer to help replant the shrubs that were near the wall,” Tiberi said. “I estimated that to rebuild would cost about $2,500, so I went around the neighborhood and asked residents if they would be willing to donate $25 to help rebuild the wall. I figured that if at least 100 people donated we would have enough money to get the wall rebuilt.”

His next door neighbor, Barry O’Sullivan, heard about what he was doing and said he thought he would be lucky to get 50 people to donate.

“[Tiberi] and a couple volunteers left a request for a $25 donation on the porches of the 140 or so homes in the development. His goal was to get 100 families, almost all strangers, to help pay for the new wall. I thought he would be lucky to get half of that. Instead, 120 families donated to the cause,” O’Sullivan said.

After collecting all of the donations, it took Tiberi only two days to rebuild the wall in late March, according to Tiberi.

Tiberi said he felt a sense of responsibility to rebuild the wall especially because of his years of experience in masonry.

“Because I [was] capable, I am in that line of work, I figured that no one else would do it. So I got permits from the township to get the wall rebuilt and I knew my way around in order to get the materials and things I needed to rebuild the wall,” Tiberi said.

O’Sullivan said that he admires Tiberi’s willingness to get the job done.

“The fact that the person who originally built the wall was still here, in our hyper-mobile society, was very impressive. The fact that he immediately went into action, saving the letters and contacting the township, was more so,” O’Sullivan said.

“I’m not sure how old he is but the wall 50 years ago would indicate he is well past retirement age. Yet he is still a bundle of righteous energy. And the fact that over 85 percent of the residents were willing to come together to help rebuild the wall was amazing. Tom has said that whenever he was at the site, cleaning up and checking the footings, people coming and going from the development would stop and get out of their cars to introduce themselves and thank him,” O’Sullivan said.

Tiberi said that he could not have been able to rebuild the wall without the support of the residents who donated.

“I would like to thank all of the neighbors who donated and who showed their support,” Tiberi said.

Contact Vashti Harris at vharris@newspapermediagroup.com.

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