It wasn't until after Detroit firefighter David R. Palm Sr. had died that his family found out about his real dedication to the Children's Hospital of Michigan.
The staff of the hospital's burn unit told the family that Palm, a 31-year veteran of the force and a captain at Engine Company 56, often would visit patients, without any fuss or fanfare. He would talk to them, comfort them, and even give them his firefighter's baseball cap, if they asked. He secretly donated money to the burn unit, too.
David Palm, 50, father of three, died from complications following a surgery in April 2003.
"When I gave the eulogy at his funeral, I said, 'Most kids have superheros. But my dad was always my hero.'" said Christopher Palm, 22, a Detroit firefighter with Ladder Company 31, who followed his dad into this life-saving work.
To honor Palm, his family, including wife, Debra, and sons, David Jr and Joseph, came up with the idea of hosting a party. The funds from the party would benefit the Children's Hospital of Michigan Burn Unit. The idea for the party, which has become an annual event, started with Janet Ibarra, Palm's sister.
"My brother loved to dance," Ibarra said. "One night, after he died, I woke up. I must have been dreaming about him. I remembered all the good times. Later, I said, 'Why not have a party and make it a great way to remember a great guy?'"
In 2015 the Twelfth Annual Dave Palm Party raised $57,000 which was donated to the Great Lakes Burn Camp. In total the previous parties, with help from people like you, we have donated over $540,000 to benefit the Burn Center at Children's Hospital of Michigan and the Great Lakes Burn Camp.
Great Lakes Burn Camp is a special place for kids ages 7-17 to meet, heal, grow and support other burn survivors. Kids share their stories and bond with other kids in a comfortable, relaxed environment. Unconditional love and acceptance is only part of what each camper receives at Great Lakes Burn Camp. They strive to remove all barriers that may keep children from participating in events and activities. Campers also receive well-balanced meals and 24-hour medical supervision. Dressing changes, Physical Therapy or other special medical services are managed by the Camp Nurse. Transportation to and from camp is provided. Opportunities for burn survivors are made possible through generous financial and material donations and services provided by businesses, organizations and individuals like you.
Great Lakes Burn Camp Also offers "The Outpost". This is a program that is offered to the oldest campers and is designed to enhance self-esteem through adventurous activities such as off-site canoe trips, hiking and treetop challenges. The program was created to increase communication skills, promote group problem solving and teach respect for individual differences. As each camper completes challenges presented to them during the week, a greater sense of potential and self-worth is realized.