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Edina couple creates the 'XTorch,' a solar-powered light and phone charger

The family-owned company is donating thousands of the devices to bring light to nations and communities lacking power on this week's "Communities that KARE."

EDINA, Minnesota — We're celebrating "Communities that KARE," the people, businesses, and organizations doing good work at home while also helping people worldwide.

The Palusky family is a shining example. Their invention is lighting the way for change in developing countries.

Their story started with a life-changing encounter thousands of miles away from Minnesota. "I went to the Dominican Republic for a little vacation, and I fell in love with her," said Gene Palusky. 

Gene recalls how he met his wife Keidy, who agreed it was love at first sight. So, Gene Palusky put his real estate business on the back burner for a globetrotting adventure that led to Africa.

Not only did Gene get the girl, but he and Keidy also got a firsthand look at a problem that so many nations experience. "There are so many people living in the world without light and power, especially kids that are truly impacted by this. They go to school, and they come home, and it's dark, so they can't study," explained Gene.

Years later, those experiences stuck with Gene and Keidy.  "There's got to be a solution to this other than candles or kerosene or some old batteries that they have to pay for and then throw away," Gene wondered.

So the Edina couple got to work on what is now the XTorch, a solar device that works as a flashlight, lantern, and cell phone charger - all in one. You can buy one for yourself emergencies, camping, and fishing.

The Paluskys then use that money to donate more devices across the world. The XTorch has gone to Haiti, Sierra Leone, and Venezuela. 

Gene committed to the business full time after seeing the device do so much good.

"I'm up early; I work late. I love what I'm doing, and I'm a little obsessed," said Gene. Keidy quipped back, "A little?" Gene reiterated, "a little obsessed, that's right." 

It truly is a family affair; even Gene's mom helps with quality control and packaging! You can buy the XTorch on Amazon or directly on Gene and Keidy's website.