ROXBURY, NJ – The crew of the “George to the Rescue” television program on Monday unveiled the improvements it made, using local contractors, at the Succasunna home of Levi Spencer, a boy born with spina bifida.
As Roxbury police blocked off a section of Condit Street, a crowd that included those contractors - as well as public officials - gathered at the Spencer home for the filming. The family had not been allowed into their house since work began in early February, so they did not know what the builders created.
What they found Monday was wonderful, said 4-year-old Levi’s mother, Jillian Spencer. “It’s amazing,” she said. “It’s perfect.”
“George to the Rescue,” starring George Oliphant, provides house renovation projects to people in need. The Roxbury project, announced in January, was initially going to entail converting a closet at the Spencer home into a handicapped-accessible bathroom for Levi.
But the remodeling, designed by Ledgewood architect Kenneth Fox and Rae Design Group of Rockaway went beyond that. It included a studio for Jillian Spencer, a photographer, and a jungle gym for Levi and his brother Shane, 5.
“Jillian was working in her living room,” said segment producer Andrew Bank. “We basically learned about her passion for photography and wanted to do something special for mom. The photo room is going to be a nice place for her to grow as a professional. She loves to entertain clients, so we set up a little coffee area for her too.”
Bank said the team “created the bathroom from scratch for Levi, one that is suited for his access challenges and needs. It is one of bigger ADA (Americans With Disabilities Act) bathrooms we ever created.”
Aware that Levi’s father, Jason, loves music, the team also installed a Sonos sound system in the house, said Bank.
Oliphant praised the people of Roxbury, especially the local businesses that volunteered to do the work, including Keane Construction, BDP Plumbing and Heating, Paxos Electric, Kuiken Brothers, Standard Tile of Roxbury and MJM Contracting Services. “We had a very small budget and very big dreams,” he said. “Thank you for what you’ve done to help George to the Rescue and the Spencer family and just continue being awesome people because you guys rock and I really appreciate it.”
State Assemblyman Anthony Bucco (R-25th Dist.) presented Levi with a joint state Senate and Assembly resolution. “This is honoring you and what you’ve been able to do and for a long and prosperous and healthy future,” Bucco said. “Hopefully, this will hang in that brand-new bedroom of yours.”
Bucco said the Spencer family has been “an inspiration” to many people in Roxbury and beyond “to show them how families can move on and adapt to having members with disabilities.”
The show featuring the Spencer project is scheduled to air April 15 on NBC-TV New York.