It is a great honor to be here today as the Mayor of Beachwood to recognize the newly designated section of I-271 in memory of Beachwood Fire Captain Michael Palumbo and to be known as the Captain Michael Palumbo Memorial Highway. As President of our Council, I attended Captain Palumbo’s funeral. I spoke with so many friends, family and co-workers who told me about the love he had for his profession and his family. Michael Palumbo served with the Beachwood Fire Department since 1992 as a fireman, paramedic, SWAT medic and part of our hazmat team. At his retirement, he had risen to the rank of Captain.
Michael Palumbo was a fighter. Not just for his own survival, but for the rights and protection of future generations of firefighters. As a victim of gliobastoma multiforme, an aggressive and debilitating form of brain cancer, he knew this cancer was often more prevalent in firefighters than the general population. Most states’ Workers’ Compensation laws provide coverage for such occupational diseases, but Ohio did not. So Captain Palumbo spent the rest of his life fighting for a change in the law. In January of last year, Gov. Kasich, in the presence of Captain Palumbo and his family, signed Senate Bill 27, the Michael Louis Palumbo Jr. Act into law.
Prior to my election as Mayor, I was an attorney for almost 40 years and a Board Certified Workers’ Compensation specialist. I spent my career fighting for the rights of injured workers. I can tell you first hand that in the past 20 years as the politics of our state has shifted, the influence of employers has increased and the rights and benefits to workers have been reduced. Through Michael Palumbo’s efforts, this new Act creates a statutory presumption that a firefighter who is disabled as a result of certain cancers, while performing his duties, is covered by Workers’ Compensation benefits. This law created a major change in the system that will now make benefits more easily available to firemen and their families for generations to come.
The City of Beachwood is honored to host the section of freeway associated with Captain Michael Palumbo, a man we recognize today for his service to our City and his lifelong dedication to the firefighting profession.
For more information on the unanimous vote designating the portion of I-271 between mile markers 28 and 32 in Beachwood as Captain Michael Palumbo Memorial Highway can be found by clicking here