Even a year after his death, former Clark County Fire Department Capt. Paul Young continues to make an impact on peoples’ lives.
As an organ and tissue donor, Young has saved and enhanced the lives of more than 30 people, according to the Nevada Donor Network, a federally designated organ procurement organization.
“I’m very proud of my dad,” said Young’s daughter, Nikki Young. “He was able to share with his community even after he passed away. He loved saving lives.”
In December, the Nevada Donor Network and Palm Mortuary announced Young as the 2014 Rose Parade honoree at Clark County Fire Station 31, where family and friends gathered for a ceremony marking the recognition.
“This is an amazing honor,” said Young’s wife, Jan. “If anyone deserves it, it’s Paul. He helped out a lot of people.”
Young graduated from Clark High School in 1974 and became the youngest paramedic in Nevada at age 19. Before joining the Clark County Fire Department in 1988, Young spent 13 years with private ambulance companies throughout Nevada and California.
For nine years, Young served at Clark County Fire Stations 16 and 31. He was promoted to captain in 1997.
Young died on Sept. 22, 2012, after suffering a thoracic aneurysm, which caused a traumatic brain injury.
During the Dec. 14 ceremony, a floragraph sponsored by Palm Mortuary was unveiled, and with the help of family and friends, it was completed before being shipped to Pasadena, Calif.
The floragraph is a photographic representation made of flowers, rice and other natural elements set to be featured on the Donate Life America float during the Jan. 1, 2014, Rose Parade.
The theme of the float will be Light Up the World.
Kate McCullough, public relations coordinator at the Nevada Donor Network, said approximately 80 people would be honored on the float.
“This is a beautiful and perfect way to honor a man who was a hero in life and in death,” McCullough said.
Young donated his liver and his right and left kidney to three recipients in California. He also donated bone, skin and eye corneas to others, McCullough said.
Jan and Nikki Young plan to make a trip to Pasadena to participate in various events with Donate Life America and to see Young honored on the float.
There are more than 114,000 people men, women and children in need of a life-saving organ, according to the Nevada Donor Network.
Organs such as hearts, lungs, livers, kidneys, pancreases and intestines can be donated, depending on the circumstances of death and the medical condition of the deceased. Bone, tendons and related tissue, blood vessels, heart valves, skin and corneas also can be donated.
Ralph Luna, a retired fire captain, knew Young for approximately 20 years. He remembers Young as a personable and happy individual.
“I never thought about signing up to become a donor,” Luna said. “When I found out how many lives Paul affected, it made me think about signing up. It was a very respectful thing that he did.”
Donors can save up to eight lives and heal as many as 50 people, McCullough said.
“He loved saving lives,” Nikki Young said. “He was so caring. I want my dad to be remembered as a hero.”
Contact Sunrise/Whitney View reporter Sandy Lopez at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-4686.