Josh Vadell and Gunther

Retired Atlantic City Police Officer Josh Vadell and his wife, Laura, pose with Gunther, a therapy dog that visited the family at AtlantiCare while Vadell recovered from a September 2016 gunshot wound.

SOMERS POINT — When Atlantic City police Officer Josh Vadell was shot in the head in September 2016 while responding to an armed robbery, the St. Joseph Regional School community took care of his pregnant wife and two daughters, he said.

“They did so much, not only for me, but for my wife and my kids,” Vadell said, adding his daughters are in first and third grade at the school. “They were basically sheltered in the school from finding out what happened to me.”

Vadell has been chosen as the honoree for the Catholic school’s annual gala, slated for 6 p.m. March 23 at the Sheraton Atlantic City Convention Center Hotel. He will talk about resilience, overcoming fear and how faith can guide people through when they don’t think there’s a way out, he said.

“So many people prayed for me to recover, not only recover, but survive what I went through,” said Vadell, who underwent intense rehabilitation to relearn basic motor skills and retired from the Police Department at age 30 as a result of his wounds. “The community support and prayers absolutely did help me. My faith is what kept me strong, and the community rallying behind me kept me going.”

Janice DeCicco Fipp, the school’s principal, said the gala’s aim is to fundraise as well as celebrate the school’s community.

“Josh is a magnificent example of being the light in the face of adversity,” she said. “We want Josh to represent, and he does represent all civil servants, all police officers, all people who put their lives on the line day in and day out. He is the perfect example of us saying we applaud what you do.”

So far, 200 tickets for the gala have been sold, but DeCicco Fipp said there’s room for anyone interested in coming to the event to support the school.

Tickets cost $110 per person, or $210 per couple, with sponsorship opportunities available for businesses and individuals. The ticket includes dinner and dancing, and there will be silent auctions and basket raffles.

Tickets can be purchased by calling 609-927-2228, ext. 11, or at sjrs.org.

Contact: 609-272-7241 mbilinski@pressofac.com Twitter @ACPressMollyB

Staff Writer

My beat is public safety, following police and crime. I started in January 2018 here at the Press covering Egg Harbor and Galloway townships. Before that, I worked at the Reading Eagle in Reading, Pa., covering crime and writing obituaries.

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