First Responders Spotlight: Firefighter, former MLB player organized massive effort to help colleague repair home

First Responders Spotlight

ROCHESTER, NY (WROC) — Last week, News 8 WROC aired a story on a Rochester Firefighter confined to a wheelchair. Dozens of his fellow firefighters came to chip in on needed repairs to his home. The man behind the whole effort is the focus now of our First Responders Spotlight. 

MORE | Dozens of Rochester firefighters show up to help gravely ill colleague fix his home

Lt. Steve Kelly is a Rochester Firefighter who was injured on the job and later became gravely ill. Unable to do the siding, landscaping, windows and other much-needed chores at his home, 70 of his fellow firefighters came with donated supplies and muscle. The man behind this massive haul — Firefighter Rey Palacios.

“We have a department of unity, brotherhood and what we call our other family,” says Palacios. He says the fire teams didn’t need to be asked twice. 

“Obviously, he can’t do many things because he’s ill right now, but because he can depend on his brothers, we’ll be able to take care of the job for him,” he says.

“Rey? Rey is as selfless as they come,” says Lt. Ryan Fleming. He says without Palacios’ compassion, dedication, and ability to rally the troops, this might not have happened. “He’s always the first cheering everyone on, he’s always the first to help a fallen firefighter.” adds Fleming.

“He’s got a huge heart and he’s one of these people who will go out and do anything for anyone,” says Fire Chief Willie Jackson.

And when it comes to credit for everything coming together, especially with the donated supplies, Palacios gives credit to a man who outranks everyone. “I know God opened the door for this because to get that many donations, I don’t want to give a quote, but it was overwhelming,” he says.

Oh, but Palacios did have once last shout out for our First Responder Spotlight sponsor. “Thank you Dunkin’ Donuts as well…I guess I’m going to gain some weight!” says Palacios opening up the box of goodies from the company.

If the name “Rey Palacios” sounds familiar to you, you must be a sports fan. Before his career as a firefighter, Palacios used to play professional Major League Baseball with the Detroit Tigers and Kansas City Royals. He went up against the likes of Bo Jackson, Jose Canseco, and Don Mattingly in the 1980s. 

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