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Homeless Man's Family Stunned by 'Boot' Story
Jeffrey Hillman was always 'a bit lost,' says relative
By Neal Colgrass, Newser Staff
Posted Dec 2, 2012 1:53 PM CST
In this undated photo released by the New York City Police Department, Thursday, Nov. 29, 2012, officer Larry DePrimo is shown on-duty.   (AP Photo/New York Police Department)

(Newser) – Most of us were touched by the story of an NYPD cop buying boots for a homeless man on a cold November night. But the family of the man, Jeffrey Hillman, was simply stunned, the New York Post reports. "The last time we heard from him was maybe a year ago on New Year’s Day," says Tish Hillman, the wife of a Hillman brother in Allentown, Pa., where both play a prominent role at Greater Shiloh Church. "Once a year, he calls us to let us know he’s OK."

While Jeffrey's two brothers had good careers, Jeffrey drifted around New York, western Pennsylvania, and New Jersey, jobless and indigent since the early 1980s. In 1993 he declared bankruptcy due to New Jersey tax liens and ended up homeless. "He was always finding trouble, he was a bit lost," says a relative. Another says Jeffrey "has chosen that life, but he knows that our hearts and home are always open to him." As for Jeffrey, police haven't seen him lately—and "we're not looking for him," says NYPD commissioner Ray Kelly. "He has shoes now. He’s much more difficult to spot."

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Dec 15, 2012 7:19 PM CST
They say you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink. I can vouch for that (just to big of an animal) and so it is with this homeless person as with even many many more just like him. I was homeless once but because my landlord never booted out the drug dealers in our boarding house so i decided to move out and was homeless for some time. I can say I am one of the few that did not continue being homeless but I could have fell into the same mind set as this guy and others like him. According to a news article I read this guy has a apartment in Jersey or somewhere nearby. He will remain homeless until he decides it time to get a place to live.
Dec 3, 2012 4:28 PM CST
hey jeff dude go home pal it cant be that bad! good luck dude!
Dec 2, 2012 11:48 PM CST
I did a very short trip to NYC. Arrived around 9PM and left by 2AM. I arrived to Penn Station on the New Jersey rail. I got out and went right to Times Square. It was summer and they had shut down the intersection so people could sit out on the street and take it in on rented lawn chairs. I stopped at as many iconic places as I could fit in before the last train (drunk train) back to Jersey left. I happened by the Times Square police station. I had to stop in and take some pics. The guys on duty were very nice. It was a strange station as compared to the ones in my area. Of course its a very strange place to patrol. I only had one close call when I decided to cut through a dark alley when I went back to Penn Station. I thought that this was it, I'm done. I made it back ok. I want to go back out and I've decided that I'm going to stay in Pennsylvania or Jersey and take the train in. I liked doing that as all the hotels in NYC are $$$$ and I wouldn't even think about trying to park there.