ROXBURY, NJ – Kimberly Valdes had a kid at track practice, so walking the path between Righter Road and Roxbury High School was almost a daily deed for the Succasunna resident.
What also became a regular thing was her annoyance with the dilapidated steps leading up to the road. “Every day, walking the path, I said to myself, ‘Somebody has got to fix these steps,’” said Valdes, the wife of Roxbury Police Patrolman Silvio Valdes.
Sometimes in life, the best “somebody” for a job is yourself. And when it comes to fixing things like broken steps, it helps if you’re a somebody with a spouse who knows how to do that kind of thing. Two somebodies are better than one.
In that regard, Valdes was lucky: Before he became a cop, her husband was a stone mason.
“Silvio worked for Meier Stone for many years,” she said. “He still does masonry on the side. He has a small business called Silvio’s Home Improvements and he does a lot of masonry work.”
So one day, after again finding herself annoyed at the condition of the steps leading to Righter Road, Valdes got an idea. “I asked my husband whether we could do something with those steps,” she said. “Could we fix them? Can we please fix them?”
It sounded good to Silvio, so last month, after getting an OK from Roxbury Schools Director of Buildings and Grounds John Eschmann, the Valdeses got to work.
“John was like, ‘By all means, go ahead,’ so then we talked to Meier Stone,” said Valdes. “They donated the pavers and materials. We figured out how much we needed and we took it from there.”
They didn’t completely rebuild the steps, just put in new pavers and stained the existing railroad ties. “The steps were really sunken in,” said Valdes. “They were kind of out of alignment there. We just kind of kept the basis of what was there. Our goal was to clean it up and make it more usable.”