WILLOWICK, OH (WCMH) — A man who played a huge role in the passing of Ohio’s Firefighter cancer bill is being remembered.
Michael L. Palumbo Jr. is the namesake for Senate Bill 27, a law which offers workers compensation insurance for certain work-related cancers.
Palumbo was a firefighter with the Beechwood and Willowick Fire Departments just a few minutes from Cleveland. Palumbo was a friend, a firefighter, and most importantly a family man. He was diagnosed with occupational brain cancer about two years ago. While he fought for his own life, he never stopped fighting for others.
This past January marked a legacy of a lifetime when Governor John Kasich signed the Michael Louis Palumbo Jr. Act giving firefighters with cancer another fighting chance. He told us back in January he was never giving up. “I fight every day for so many people, mostly my family and my kids, because I plan on being here,” said Palumbo.
Mike Palumbo was here. He was here for everyone in the fire family. “It was the ultimate act of selflessness. He worried more about us protecting ourselves than him,” said childhood friend and firefighter Bill Mastrioanni. He was here for his wife and five kids. “That’s really what he lived for.”
He was also here for the day Governor Kasich signed the presumptive cancer bill, named in his honor, into law. “He wasn’t chosen to have his name of the bill because he had this occupational cancer, Michael was chosen for this bill because of his commitment to community because of the leader in the fire service for 25 years,” said Mastrioanni.
Mike, like so many Willowick Firefighters, served in the community where he grew up. With a population of about 16,000, friends say he cared for each and every person there. When he was diagnosed with occupational brain cancer he turned his tragedy into a teaching opportunity. “The amount of people he has educated by the simplest.. ‘Go take a shower.’ Guys are just more aware of the cancer and what can happen. It’s been an education for everybody,” said close friend and fellow firefighter Ron Zak.
Firefighter’s in Ohio will now learn Michaels name. “Honestly, Michael is so much more than the act.” The firefighters in Willowick and Beechwood feel lucky to have known the man. “The firefighter, the imprint he left will transcend to future generations of firefighters going forward. Michael was so much more,” said Mastrioanni.
Visitation and funeral arrangements are as follows:
Thursday, June 1 from 1pm to 4pm and 5pm to 8pm
Friday, June 2 from 1pm to 4pm and 5pm to 8pm
Monreal Funeral Home
35400 Curtis Blvd
Eastlake Ohio 44095
Mass of Christian Burial
Saturday June 3 at 1pm
Immaculate Conception Church
37932 Euclid Ave
Willoughby Ohio 44094
Burial following mass at
All Souls Cemetery
10366 Chardon Rd.
Chardon Ohio 44024