Joseph Badame’s Misfortune Leads to His Destiny: Saving Lives in Puerto Rico

Joseph Badame

What do you do when you have lost everything you have built in your life?  You give to those that have lost more.

Medford survivalist Joseph Badame with some of the many barrels of dried food and supplies he has accumulated over the years.

By Rebecca Everett | For

The shelter Joseph Badame built and his accumulation of supplies — enough so that 100 people could live there — was Badame’s life’s work. He and his wife built the place, with its subterranean living area and lead-lined bomb shelter, along with outbuildings. For forty years, they filled them with everything they’d need, from coal furnaces and kerosene refrigerators to barrels of food and other supplies.

Mr. Badame lost his wife in 2019 and now he’s losing it all now, after the bank foreclosed on his property. “I’m losing this house,” he said, looking at the building from his driveway Monday. It’s a blow to a man who is still heartbroken over losing his wife. “This will never be a survival dwelling for Phyliss or myself.” But, he admits, his passion for creating the perfect shelter has diminished since his wife’s death, and there are few family members and friends left to worry about saving.

Badame decided that instead of selling the food at the sale, he would ship it all to Puerto Rico. It will feed people who desperately need it, even if it’s not the people they originally intended. “I’ve lost everything. My wife, my house, everything,” he said. “The last thing I was going to lose is the food. It was going to be trashed.”

Finding his purpose in getting the food and supplies to Puerto Rico has lifted his spirits. But on top of that, he also found a kind of adopted family. He moved the RV he’s living in into the yard of Barber and Martinez-Barber.


How You can help.

Contribute to the ‘Scrolls of Hope’ Disaster Relief Package. The creation of this package is to inspire groups and individuals to pool their resources together to help a victim of disaster get back on their feet.

Contribute To The Scrolls Of Hope Disaster Relief Package

Each package contains a variety of items that will help in most emergency situations. It includes basic personal hygiene items, towels, a blanket and a pillow to help with general care and comfort. For more extreme situations, we have included an emergency shelter, water-holding container, flashlight and a rain poncho. To pass the time, there are playing cards, game books, crayons and writing accessories. To help carry these items there is a small sports backpack and a large convenient duffle bag.

Choose your contribution

Contributions range from $1.00 to a complete package. As contributions are received they are pooled together to assemble and send Disaster Relief Packages to those in need. If you would like more information please visit us at or go directly to view the Victims of Disaster page.

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