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First Responder of the Week goes to great heights to help local charity

TFRD Captain Doug Palicki volunteers for The Victory Center’s Over the Edge event
Published: Apr. 13, 2021 at 9:45 AM EDT
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - There are a lot of unsung heroes in our community who don’t do their work for any kind of recognition because they truly enjoy helping others. Captain Doug Palicki is one of them.

Palicki is a firefighter and paramedic for the Toledo Fire & Rescue Department. He’s also a volunteer for an event called Over the Edge for Victory, a fundraiser for The Victory Center where people pay to rappel down the side of a 16-story building on Madison Ave. in downtown Toledo.

“Firefighters work 24-hour shifts, and he’s willing to give up his time on his days off to be here and to help,” said Karen Evans. She works at The Victory Center and nominated Doug for First Responder of the Week. “That means the world to all of us.”

“It’s only two days, but you walk away with memories and good feelings for months after that,” Palicki said.

Over the Edge is the biggest fundraiser for the center, bringing in more than $400,000 in just the last four years. Palicki got involved with the event a few years ago, and he’s always recruiting others to help out. That’s been possible thanks to all the people like Palicki who donate their time.

“Without volunteers, we couldn’t do what we do here,” says Karen. “They are the backbone of this organization.”

The Victory Center offers free programs and support services for cancer patients, survivors, their families, and caregivers. Some of those patients are even able to take part in Over the Edge.

“Just hearing what they go through and have endured makes me realize some of the things I’ve gone through pale in comparison,” says Doug. “If I can get them over the edge with a smile and make a great memory for them, all the better.”

Plunging over the side of a 16-story building isn’t easy for most people, and that’s why Doug and others are there. In addition to being a firefighter and paramedic, Doug also has specialized training in technical rescue, so his skill set is perfect for this.

“He makes people feel so relaxed. When you are on a rope 16-stories up, it is hard to feel relaxed,” Karen said. “So you want to have the right person talking you off the ledge, and that’s Doug.”

Doug is a humble hero and says he was quite frankly a bit embarrassed at first by this honor.

“There are so many others who have done way more than me,” he says.

Karen says she nominated Doug because he truly has done life-changing work for the center.

“We all have so little free time to ourselves, so when a person goes the extra mile on limited time, that’s a special person,” she says. “Our staff thinks the world of Doug, and we want the whole city to know what we feel.”

Captain Palicki works out of Station 25 on Central Avenue. This year’s Over the Edge is August 26-27.

Do you know of a First Responder who deserves recognition? You can nominate them at 13abc.com. We air the stories every Monday night at 11.

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