Evelyn Feiger has spent much of her life working to make her Auburn-Delaware neighborhood in central Toledo a safe place to live.
On Thursday, the 82-year-old woman couldn't have felt safer as Toledo police Chief Derrick Diggs and four of his command officers gathered in her room at Lutheran Village at Wolf Creek in Springfield Township. She has been there the last few weeks after being diagnosed with liver cancer.
"Evelyn, how are you doing?" the chief asked. "I haven't had a chance to see you in a while."
He quickly got down to business -- telling her he had an award to present to her for her years of volunteer service to the city of Toledo, the Block Watch program, and any number of organizations in town.
"We figured it would be best to give it to you now for all the work you've done and for being the boss of my office," Chief Diggs said. "You're like a part of our family. You have your own desk, and we want just want you to have this award."
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The plaque didn't seem to mean as much to Ms. Feiger as the smiles, hugs, and encouragement she got from the officers, who included Lt. James Brown and Sgt. Joe Heffernan. They assured her they've been keeping an eye on her house, cutting the grass.
"She's one of the hardest working people I've ever met in my life. We're going to miss her," Lt. Mark King said after emerging from her room.
Police have been used to seeing Ms. Feiger at the Safety Building downtown at least once a month when she would prepare Block Watch mailings with military efficiency.
"She'd probably go down there right now if you'd let her," said Deputy Chief George Taylor.
Bea Harris of Maumee said her dear friend continued her volunteer work and her office job at Advocates for Basic Legal Equality until March 20 when her health problems prevented her from continuing.
Ms. Feiger never married but had "adopted" Mrs. Harris' four children as grandchildren, attending all their school events and functions at Holland Free Methodist Church, doing what any grandmother would do.
"If you need help, she's there," Mrs. Harris said. "She was faithful to the church. She came to church every Sunday until the 20th.
"And she loved volunteering. She was never home."
Keith Simpson, pastor of Holland Free Methodist, said he has known Ms. Feiger most of his life.
"She's not been well for a while," he said. "We knew something wasn't right, but she's so tough, she didn't let on."
Toledo police, who had planned to recognize Ms. Feiger at the department's annual awards ceremony in May, know better than anyone how tough -- and dedicated -- Ms. Feiger is.
"We have volunteers," said Chief Diggs, "but they're not like Evelyn. Evelyn is one of a kind."
Contact Jennifer Feehan at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-724-6129.