APOPKA, Fla. – Calvin Thomas, a retired Orlando police officer, was among numerous supporters rallying for Austin Duran’s speedy recovery.
The young Apopka firefighter was severely injured after a sand trailer he was trying to move pinned him down.
“This is why we stop here because we know they support the community,” Thomas said.
Law enforcement, firefighters, Apopka’s mayor and regular customers — all came out Thursday to chip in with Steve White’s cause.
They’re showing solidarity by eating at White’s restaurant, Porkie’s Original BBQ. White is donating 10% of Thursday’s sales to Duran’s recovery.
Duran has needed multiple surgeries and remains in the ICU at Orlando Regional Medical Center.
“You always know being in the fire emergency services that you have that support but to be shown firsthand — it’s just simply humbling,” Sean Wylam, Apopka’s fire chief said. “It truly is a community that it’s something we’re proud to serve and be a part of.”
Bryan Nelson, the Mayor of Apopka told News 6, that Duran’s accident has left city leaders questioning what they can do next.
“You feel terrible for him, the family and you’re just like — OK, you try to go back and say what could we have done different from a city standpoint. It’s just an unfortunate accident,” Nelson said.
The owner of the restaurant is known for giving back to his community.
“That’s what makes Apopka so special. We have a lot of people just like Steve that will come out to support the community,” Nelson said.
Porkie’s Original BBQ in Apopka has been a staple of the city for almost two decades.
“He’s one of us. We’re all in this together,” White said about Duran. “I’ve met him here a few times but just I know the story and I know all the other guys and I’ve been here like 19 years, so they’ve all become real good friends.”
Friends that have become like family.
“We call it the extended family. That’s what makes Apopka different,” the fire chief said. “He’s got a ton of support, one of the most awesome things the reason why we’re here today is the community outpouring of support and love shown towards Austin and our entire department.”
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