BestrentNJ.com tenants at Fox Hill Run, Forest View, Evergreen East, Evergreen Forest and Cloverleaf Gardens are well aware that Woodbridge is New Jersey’s premier commuter hub; a city where great highways meet as both the Garden State Parkway and the New Jersey Turnpike intersect here. I remember – and look forward to – this summer when I can serenade my wife (to my daughters teasing me) to “…roll down the window and let the wind blow back your hair” as New Jersey’s own Bruce Springsteen intones in his anthemic song “Thunder Road.”
While the Freehold / Asbury Park communities claim “the Boss” as their own, Woodbridge also has some famous, almost famous and interesting personalities you should know about.
Jonathan Singletary Dunham: Prominent Early Settler
Dunham (January 17, 1640 – September 6, 1724) and his wife Mary Bloomfield (a relative of the later Joseph Bloomfield for whom the township of Bloomfield is coined) migrated to Woodbridge which was the first Township of NJ chartered by King Charles II on June 1, 1669. The then-newly appointed governor of NJ granted Dunham 213 acres and later an additional 203 acres. Dunham built New Jerseys first grist mill and after finding success with this venture, he entered public life serving as the Clerk of the Woodbridge Township Court and overseer of highways. In 1673 he was elected to the New Jersey Provincial Congress. Dunham died in Woodbridge, New Jersey in 1724. In the words of Woodbridge historian Rev. Joseph W. Dally, “Dunham was a man of great energy. When he determined upon an enterprise he pushed it forward to success with indomitable perseverance.” His most notable label would come a few centuries later…Dunham is U.S. President Barack Obama’s eighth great-grandfather and the first of Obama’s Dunham ancestors to be born in North America.
Richie Sambora: Guitarist for Bon Jovi
Born in Perth Amboy in 1959, Sambora spent his youth right here in Woodbridge Township and attended and graduated from Woodbridge High School in 1977. In fact, Sambora’s first ever public performance took place right here at a Catholic Youth Organization dance when he was a teenager. Over the years, Sambora has been an ardent fundraiser for many charities such as Dream Street. The Steve Young Forever Young Foundation and Michael J. Fox’s Parkinsons disease charity. Sambora’s fundraising with the charity Stand Up For a Cure allowed for three mobile full service hospital units to be brought to the streets of New York, two of which were named after his parents, respectively. Sambora and his songwriting partner Jon Bon Jovi were inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame on June 18, 2009. Richie never forgot his roots and in 2009 he launched the charitable effort YOU CAN GO HOME right here in Woodbridge and the township unveiled a street named Richie Sambora Way in his honor. He also donated funds to renovate his beloved alma mater – Woodbridge High School – which opened up a weight room, the Adam Sambora Fitness Center dedicated to Richie’s dad.
Dagmara “Daga” Wozniak: American Olympic Saber Fencer
Born in Wrocław, Poland, when Wozniak was one year old, she immigrated to the United States with her parents. The family settled in Avenel, New Jersey, Wozniak’s hometown. Wozniak graduated from Colonia High School in Woodbridge Township in 2006. Dagmara began fencing at age 9 at the Polish American Fencing School (PAFS) in Linden, New Jersey and trained at the Manhattan Fencing Center since high school and won three team medals at the Junior World Fencing Championships. Wozniak was an Olympic alternate in the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing and became a full member of the U.S. team at the 2012 Olympic Games and placed eighth, losing to Sofiya Velikaya of Russia in the quarterfinals by the score of 15-13. It was later revealed that she had fenced with a partially torn Achilles tendon. Wozniak won a gold medal with Team USA in 2014. As of the summer of 2016, she was ranked among the top 10 saber fencers in the world. She represented the USA at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio De Janeiro where here tram won a bronze medal. When it comes to persistence, Dagmara is a inspiration to all and is quoted in a 2016 feature article in Allure Magazine. “I feel like the sport shaped me to be a very confident and strong woman,” she said. “If you have a good practice after a sprained ankle or a torn calf, it’s a good day.”
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