oe Badame and his beloved wife Phyliss became survivalists 45 years ago when they returned to the US after his stint with the Peace Corps in Tunisia. They came home to find gas shortages and riots and decided that they needed to be prepared for a catastrophic event. So began their systematic collection of food and supplies.
Fast forward to today and Phyliss has sadly passed, leaving Joe in economic ruin after taking out a large loan on their home to help care for his ailing wife. The bank is foreclosing and all the goods and supplies are going to be sold or trashed. But right at this moment, Badame meets a couple who are desperately trying to help their family in Puerto Rico.
Suddenly, his life's work has a new purpose.
Meet Joe Badame, a retired architect from Medford, NJ, who has been preparing for a doomsday scenario for 45 years.
Along with his wife, Phyliss, Badame spent his free time collecting items they would need to survive should something catastrophic happen. Together they collected everything they would need to survive a long term disaster. This survivalism was more than a hobby, it was a passion, their life’s work.
The Badames transformed the basement of their home, and some on property outbuildings, into survival shelters.
Complete with a lead-lined bomb shelter, the subterranean survival compound is large enough to accommodate up to 100 people. Badame felt that an economic collapse was imminent, and he tried to get his family and friends to prepare. “Nobody would do it so Phyliss is the one who came up with the idea to do it for them,” he explains.
A bunker filled with survival supplies might sound extreme to many of us.
Joe Badame is not the stereotypical doomsday survivalist. He’s educated, a retired architect, and lives in a nice suburb. But he and his wife shared a passion for doomsday prep and survival, though he admits that the passion faded after he lost his wife in 2013.
For over 40 years they prepared for their survival, spending an estimated million dollars.
For decades they planned, saved, purchased, and stocked away. They built something special that could save lives.
His survival compound spreads out over 8,500 square feet of living space, which includes multiple kitchens, bathrooms, washers and dryers, and other appliances. In fact, his shelter has come in handy. When his street lost power after a storm, he welcomed his neighbors to use his hot showers and generator-operated working bathrooms.
In losing his house, he is losing it all. But, in a wonderful twist, the legacy of those years will still save lives.
With the foreclosure looming, Badame held an estate sale, where a fortuitous meeting changed his life and ultimately will change the lives of countless others.
Badame hired Medford Company Store Estate Sales, who in turn hired Victoria Martinez-Barber and her husband Anthony Barber to provide food from their food truck, Tony & Tori’s Grill, at the sale. Martinez-Barber told Badame that all the money raised would go to her family in Puerto Rico, who were homeless and hungry after the devastating hurricane. Badame gave her $100 donation, and then showed her his survival supplies.
And that’s when something magical happened…