American Lung Association Honors Former Apopka Firefighter with Namesake Award in His Memory

Today, in recognition of National First Responders Day and in memory of Austin Duran, former firefighter with the Apopka Fire Department, the American Lung Association announced the “Fight For Air Climb Austin Duran Award”.  

In July of this year, the Central Florida community tragically lost firefighter Austin Duran of the Apopka Fire Department. Austin was hospitalized after experiencing severe injuries while in the line of duty, and sadly contracted pneumonia early in his recovery, that ultimately took his life. This tragedy highlights the dangers firefighters and emergency responders face in the line of duty.  

Duran joined the Apopka Fire Department in July of 2020 and was a climber in the American Lung Association’s Fight For Air Climb event held at Exploria Stadium. Duran donned full gear at that 2022 Climb, taking on the 1,000 steps ascending and descending and completing the Climb in an astonishing 13:02 minutes. “The outpouring of love and support from the entire Central Florida community after this tragedy has been truly moving. At the American Lung Association, we truly value our fire fighter community and recognize the risks they face every day with their lung health” says Janelle Hom, local Lung Association Executive Director. “It is our honor to work with the Apopka Fire Department and Austin’s family to continue to remember Austin’s contributions to our mission and Central Florida”.

In collaboration with Austin’s family and Apopka Fire Rescue, the American Lung Association is proud to announce the Fire Fighter Challenge will be named in his honor for the 2023 Fight For Air Climb. In addition, the top fundraising fire fighter will receive the “Fight For Air Climb Austin Duran Award”, which will continue on every year for the life of the duration of the Fight For Air Climb event in Orlando. 

“We have been devastated by the tragic loss of our son and brother,” shares Michael Duran, Austin’s father. “We are deeply moved and grateful to the American Lung Association for their tireless efforts and powerful messages around lung health. His struggles and recovering due to the lung issues made us very aware of how delicate and important the lungs can be in any situation, especially in recovery. We are honored for you to remember and continue Austin's legacy. As we attempt to move forward with this tragedy it is a bittersweet honor to be blessed with the love and support from the fire service and surrounding communities that continue to remember and carry-on Austin's memory. Thank you for supporting all our first responders and continuing to keep the torch lit. #austinsarmy Always and forever.”

The American Lung Association has continued admiration for all our local firefighters and emergency responders and are thankful for their continued support of the Fight For Air Climb.

The 2023 Fight for Air Climb is scheduled for Saturday, February 18, 2023 at City National Bank Tower. Registration is open and climbers of all ages are encouraged to sign up by visiting Funds raised through the Fight For Air Climb will fund lifesaving research to move us closer to a world free of lung disease. 

For more information, contact:

Jill Smith
[email protected]

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