ROXBURY, NJ – “George to the Rescue,” an NBC television program in which "deserving people" get home renovations, will be helping the parents of Levi Spencer, a Succasunna boy with spina bifida.
In a Jan. 11 letter to Roxbury Township Manager Christopher Raths, “George to the Rescue” (GTTR) producer Andrew Scerbo said the show’s host, George Oliphant and his team “are excited to support the Spencer Family of Roxbury Township, NJ” with its Raising the Roof for Levi project.
The Spencers have been raising money online to fund major accessibility improvements to their Condit Street house, including the addition of a second floor, to make life easier for Levi. In his letter to Raths, Scerbo praised the family.
“The Spencer home is filled with love and positivity and GTTR is excited to bring local experts together to make significant spatial upgrades for their son Levi,” said Scerbo in the letter.
Jillian Spencer, Levi's mother, said show officials plan to convert a closet in the house into a handicapped-accessible bathroom for her son. She said she did not know how much the job is worth, but noted that GTTR's involvement "takes a big burden off" the family.
“Levi was born with spina bifida and faces various mobility challenges that limit his independence," said Scerbo in his letter. "As he gets older, more accommodating spaces will make life significantly easier for the entire family. We’re excited to tackle this special project and value your community’s support.”
Jillian Spencer said she’s been applying to GTTR for almost a year. “What they do fits our needs to a T,” she said. “But I thought it was a long-shot.”
However, when she saw an open casting call on the GTTR Facebook page recently, Spencer applied and followed up with an email. She said the show then contacted her and a couple of producers paid a visit to do an interview and view the house.
“They came back and said it was to tape … to show producers to see if they wanted to take on our project," Spencer said. "But – unbeknownst to us – they’d already decided to take on the project. They surprised us by having George knock on our door” during the taping.
The GTTR producers will use as many local workers as possible. “They’re getting the community involved,” Spencer said. “A lot of the contractors are from Succasunna and, even more specifically, from right on our street.”
In an email, Scerbo thanked Raths for supporting the project. “In all my years of rescuing homeowners, it’s not very often you come across a community so tight nit (sic) and willing to help a moment’s notice,” he wrote. “Truly inspiring.”
That community closeness is likely to also be on display Saturday, when the Roxbury Rotary Club hosts its first annual art auction, a fundraiser for Levi Spencer and Jacob Kohner, another Roxbury boy who uses a wheelchair.