Officer Josh Vadell, 29, of Egg Harbor Township, was shot in the head when he and his partner answered a robbery call in September of 2016. Now Vadell is back in the spot light after undergoing reconstructive surgery to replace his missing skull. And if that’s not enough, he’s speaking publicly about cuts to police funding.
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Vadell’s injury was serious, and few expected him to survive. He spent time in the Drucker Brain Injury Unit at MossRehab in Elkins Park, Pennsylvania, though, and his recovery went well.
Vadell was shot outside of Caesars Casino in Atlantic City. His partner, who was not injured, shot and killed the suspect, 25-year-old Jerome Damon. Two others, Martel D. Chisolm, 29, and Demetris Cross, 28, have been charged with attempted murder, robbery and conspiracy.
Officer Vadell’s recover is going exceptionally well. He’d recovered well enough from the initial trauma that surgeons felt he could undergo a reconstructive cranioplasty.
Now he’s even looking better.
Images of his incredible journey have been posted on an Imgur page. The comments make for a good read. Many of the commenters are openly supportive and wholly disbelieving of the progress the officer has made. Others, be warned, show a penchant for dark humor:
“Crazy dude, glad you’re ok. My son survived being shot in the chest in 2015. He’s a paramedic and was shot getting off shift in the ghetto.”
“Dude… I think you just got an argument golden pass: you can win any argument by “yeah, but I got shot in the head though” boom instant win.”
“Jesus H. Christ, modern medicine is a goddamn miracle.”
“You were very attractive even with half a head. I mean, I still are. I don’t know. I’m awkward around hot guys. I’ll show myself out.”
“Bullet to the head and you’re still going strong? You’re a tough motherfucker, @OP. GODSPEED.”
“Grats dude, enjoy your new skull.”
“FUCK YEAH! Awesome recovery! Take it easy man! And for the person who shot you in the head, teach them how to do it properly on themselves.”
“Good job brother in blue. Godspeed and good luck with the recovery.”
“Stay stong brother. Keep your head in the game…ot at least part of it.”
“Yo, good job surviving that bullet bro.”
“Thank you for your service. May God restore you to a complete recovery. Enjoy your Nova, you’ve earned it!”
“So are you a cyborg now?”
“Nothing a little Bondo can’t help. Good luck, bud.”
“Thank you for your service to your community and country.”
“You got some more head. Good on you! All the best.”
There’s a bit of a twist on the GoFundMe, too. Here’s the link. It looks like a worth while project for someone who has given as much to his community as Officer Vadell has, but they’re still short of their goal.