The family of Jeffrey Hillman, the homeless man who was photographed being given a pair of boots by a New York City police officer, is connected to the Lehigh Valley, according to multiple media reports.
Kirk Hillman, who has been identified as Jeffrey’s brother by the New York Post and Yahoo!, lives in Plainfield Township with his wife, Tish. They both work at the Greater Shiloh Church in Easton, according to Kirk Hillman's LinkedIn page and the church's website.
Kirk Hillman told the New York Post that he hasn’t talked to his younger sibling in about a year.
“Jeffrey has his own life, and he has chosen that life, but he knows that our hearts and home are always open to him,” Alegra Hall, Kirk Hillman’s daughter, told the New York Post.
Patch’s attempts to contact Kirk and Tish Hillman were not immediately successful.
Here’s how Dylan Stableford, a writer for Yahoo!, describes 54-year-old Jeffrey Hillman’s rise to Internet fame:
On Nov. 14, NYPD officer Lawrence DePrimo, who was on counterterrorism duty in Times Square, saw Hillman without shoes sitting on 42nd Street. DePrimo, 25, left and then returned with a pair of $100 boots he bought at a nearby Skechers store, knelt down and gave them to Hillman.
The random act of kindness was captured on camera by an Arizona tourist, who emailed the photo to the NYPD. It was then posted on the NYPD's Facebook page and soon went viral, generating more than 600,000 "likes," 47,000 comments and countless warmed hearts.
On Dec. 2, however, The New York Times found Jeffrey Hillman once again wandering the streets of New York City with no shoes.
“Those shoes are hidden. They are worth a lot of money,” Hillman told The New York Times. “I could lose my life.”
Hillman told the paper he was from South Plainfield, N.J. He said he joined the Army in 1978 and served as a food service specialist in the United States and Germany.
He has two children -- Nikita, 22, and Jeffrey, 24 -- but has had little contact with them since a visit three years ago, he said.