Salem boy asks for unusual Christmas gift, to adopt highway

(Copyright by WSLS - All rights reserved)

SALEM (WSLS 10) - A local boy picks protecting the environment over receiving a Christmas gift from his grandmother. Now, his name will mark a stretch along Route 912, in Salem.

"I really wanted it for Christmas," said 9-year-old Jameson Vaughan. "My grandma asked me if I wanted anything else for Christmas and I said ‘nope'. And so, she was a little bit worried."

It's an unusual gift for a 9-year-old. Jameson wanted to adopt a highway, 1.3 miles of tar in Roanoke County.

"I said to his mom, ‘what am I supposed to do?'" said Winky Vaughan, Jameson's grandmother. "So, I did a little research."

Vaughan said unfamiliar with how to make his wish happen, she emailed the Virginia Department of Transportation and filled an application. Finding only adults could adopt, Vaughan made the impossible happen. She created the Jameson Vaughan and Family account in Jameson's name so, he could adopt the highway.

"Probably being one of the youngest kids to ever do it, I think that's neat," commented Jameson.

Wanting to make a difference and clean up the environment, Jameson now has all the proper gear needed to get the task done. VDOT gifted reflective vests and signs. His grandmother gave two trash grabbers, because it's now his responsibility to maintain the road.

"I don't like how people just throw trash out of their cars and on the side of the road," said Jameson. "They don't really understand how dangerous it can be. It can hurt animals and stuff."

Most kids are told to stay off the street, because it could be dangerous. But, dressed in bright orange Vaughan said they're implementing safety measures like using the buddy system, cleaning up facing oncoming traffic, and they plan to place caution signs along the road. It's a potentially dangerous task all to bring a little good into this community.