SUMMIT, NJ - There was nothing really unique about the early morning hours of December 11 and, for retired Summit Auxiliary Police Officer Billy MacAdam, nothing out of character pertaining to his reaction to to seeing a man and woman standing on the shoulder of Route 24.
MacAdam has spent a lifetime being the epitome of a 'Good Samaritan', helping others selflessly and being an omnipresent face throughout Summit, volunteering and assisting in any way he is able.
So MacAdam's decision to pull over and assist the pair, who he believed to be 'stranded pedestrians', was not usual -- it was vintage MacAdam.
Unfortunately at times in life, very bad things happen to very good people, and this was one of those times.
Unbeknownst to MacAdam, the couple was 'stranded' on the side of the road as they had been ejected from their Uber car a few minutes earlier because the man was intoxicated and belligerent.
When MacAdam pulled up and offered to help, the man turned his hostilities on him, dragging MacAdam through the car window and then severely assaulting him. MacAdam would later say, “the guy was tossing me around like a rag doll.”
MacAdam suffered multiple serious injuries, including a broken femur, broken hip, and a bleed on the brain. He spent ten days in the hospital and five weeks in rehab to learn how to walk again, which he now is able to do with the assistance of a cane while continuing to undergo outpatient physical therapy.
The incident would, by itself, be more than most could bear but, three days after MacAdam came home from rehab, he ended up back in the hospital for nearly another week with pneumonia, for which he is still recovering.
This incident was just one in a string of many challenges MacAdam has had to overcome. Before the incident on Route 24, his health had been deteriorating and, eight years ago, MacAdam received a heart transplant and he is currently on dialysis and in need of a kidney transplant.
Health issues are not the only life challenges to confront MacAdam as he -- in 2016 -- lost his apartment because the property owners sold the home., leaving him homeless.
Fortunately, he is staying at his brothers’ home until he is able to find an apartment that he can afford. The family tried to get MacAdam into the low-income housing in Summit, but the waiting list is several years out. They also tried to get him into the senior housing in Summit because of his disabilities however, he does not meet the age requirement.
They turned to the state for rental assistance as well, but were told that all the rental assistance funds went to Hurricane Sandy Relief and rental assistance had no assistance to offer. They really are at a loss on ways to get MacAdam help and back into his own place.
Before the incident, MacAdam was able to work a few hours a day as a crossing guard which, in addition to his disability check, was allowing him to save for an apartment, but now, the possibility for him to work is gone, as is his ability to get his own place.
Further, he drives a very old car that will soon need costly maintenance and repair work. MacAdam’s car is, essentially, the only thing he has left and, when he no longer has that to get to dialysis or to see friends, he will have lost all of his independence.
A member of the Summit Elks, MacAdam and served on the Summit Auxiliary Police for 16 years. Joining in 1999, Auxiliary Officer MacAdam was promoted to the rank of Sergeant in 2003, followed by Auxiliary Police Lieutenant and most recently Captain in 2014.
In the words of Summit Police Chief Robert Weck, MacAdam "has always represented the Summit Police Department admirably. However, due to some recent health issues in the previous few years, Auxiliary Captain MacAdam has been unable to continue his duties actively patrolling with the Auxiliary Police Officers. This has not deterred him from being a familiar face at every major event the Summit Police Department hosts and participates in. Representing the Summit Police Department in the capacity of Auxiliary Police Captain, he continues to actively participate at events such as the Easter Egg Hunt, Memorial Day Parade, Fourth of July Fireworks, National Night Out, street fairs and car shows -- just to name a few."
For virtually any event that the community has needed help, MacAdam has been there. Through one such act of service -- directing traffic at Summit's Annual Thanksgiving Turkey Drive conducted by the Other Fellow First Foundation -- MacAdam interacted with the Foundation's founders -- including Brett Haire, Jordan Glatt and Jim Greberis.
Now, the Foundation is engaging the Hilltop City community in an effort to help MacAdam in his time of need.
Because MacAdam’s health and his ability to work has been very limited -- and his very limited resources have been depleted -- the Other Fellow First Foundation, which exists to help Summit families in distress, is helping MacAdam and informing those who would like to join them to send any gift / assistance to:
Other Fellow First Foundation
c/o Brave Asset Management
47 Summit Avenue
Summit, NJ 07901
In addition, a GoFundMe page has been established at gofundme.com/billys-good-samaritan-fund.