Bench Honors Late Local Humanitarian

WILKES-BARRE, Pa. -- A bench along Wilkes-Barre's River Common Park has been dedicated to a veterinarian and humanitarian from Luzerne County who passed away last year.

On an unseasonably warm fall day, a group of friends came together at Wilkes-Barre River Common Park to honor a beloved member of the Luzerne County community.

The Luzerne County Flood Protection Authority dedicated a bench in the park in honor of Dr. Doug Ayers.

Dr. Ayers passed away last year from cancer. He was known by many in the community.

Dr. Ayers was a veterinarian with his own practice and also founded Hillside Farms.

"He had a very genuine, caring spirit. He gave of his time, of his efforts, of his money to rebuild this community and to make it secure for families for generations to come," said his fiancé Julie Schneggenburger.

In addition to all of the activities and volunteer work Dr. Ayers did in the community, he was also a member of the Luzerne County Flood Protection Authority. That's why the authority wanted to dedicate this bench to him here.

"It wasn't until his passing where I read his obituary where I became very insightful about the large impact he had on our community. Doug was very humble. He wasn't boastful about his accomplishments, but he accomplished a lot," said LCFPA executive director Christopher Belleman.

Dr. Ayers' close friends and family say the bench will serve as yet another way his legacy will live on in the community.

"I'm so grateful people are remembering how good of a man he was and that there is something here that will last for generations. I love to know that he was loved," Schneggenburger said.

In addition to the bench, the flood protection authority also planted a tulip tree in Dr. Ayer's honor.