The Holocaust Memorial & Tolerance Center of Nassau County Children’s Memorial Garden—a sanctuary nestled amidst Welywn’s wooded trails and shoreline along the Long Island Sound—serves as a meaningful memorial to the 1.5 million Jewish children who were murdered during the Holocaust and all of the children who died during World War II.
Thanks to efforts spearheaded by a World War II veteran from Glen Cove, the garden has been preserved and enhanced as a cherished destination for learning and reflection.
About six years ago, while volunteering at the Holocaust Center, Bob Praver took notice of how weedy and otherwise neglected the children’s garden adjacent to the building had become. After Praver, a retired homebuilder, learned that that the center didn’t have funds to pay for renovations, he enlisted masons, landscapers and other subcontractors he previously worked with to lend a helping hand.
“Bob is one of those extraordinary people who inspires so many others to do great things,” Legislator Delia DeRiggi-Whitton said.
The restoration effort is just one way how he has given back through activities related to the garden. Last summer, Praver met U.S. Marine Corps veteran Fred Nielsen in the garden. Nielsen pairs Boy and Girl Scouts and other youth volunteers with Scouts from older generations who meet in the garden and discuss various topics while learning about one another. Praver, who was an Eagle Scout in his youth, was a perfect fit for this program.
During a ceremony in the children’s garden in October honoring Praver, Boy Scout Joseph Sullivan and karate student Kuga Rex Weber presented a beautiful knot board that translated many of the stories Praver had told them about his experiences during World War II, where he served on a vessel that transported Army and Naval personnel back home from China and Japan after the war.
—Submitted by Legislator Delia DeRiggi-Whitton