WESTFIELD, NJ — Most of the fence bordering the yard of Valerie Latona and David Contract’s yard, known as “The Wall of Love,” is still standing, but a portion was taken out around 5 a.m. Monday morning when a large tree branch fell on it. The branch also damaged several bushes, their childrens’ trampoline and part of their roof.
Contract is the Ward 3 Democratic candidate for Westfield Town Council.
“Many people stopped by worried that it had been vandalized,” Latona said.
Contract said that workers from the Westfield Department of Public Works told him that the branch probably weighed more than 1,000 pounds.
“I’m just really thankful that it happened when it did. It could have killed someone,” Contract said. “The DPW did a fantastic job. I was really impressed with their professionalism and attitude.”
The oak tree that lost the branch will likely need to be removed, Contract said, and that part of the fence will need to be replaced. The hearts from that section will be relocated to other parts of the fence, he said.
The wall, which originated as one “love trumps hate” sign on the fence before the Presidential election, grew after it was repeatedly vandalized and new signs were hung. Foam hearts with written messages by hundreds of people now adorn the fence.
In March, the Union County Freeholders honored the family for creating “The Wall.”