The hard work and training – hurriedly climbing dozens of flights of stairs each morning with nothing but sweat and achy muscles to show for it – paid off.

A group of eight Houston police officers calling themselves “Houston Cops – SWAT Team” worked as just that – a team – to defeat and rise above dozens of other teams including one from the Houston Fire Department in the first American Lung Association “Fight for Air” Stair Climb on Saturday (May 16).

The stair climb was a grueling, fast-paced hike up 39 floors of the Marathon Oil Tower in uptown Houston at 5555 San Felipe.  It proved to be a worthwhile finish for the HPD team as it compiled the lowest team score for its top three climbers with a combined time of 20 minutes and 28.7 seconds.  The top three officers averaged an impressive 6.76 minutes to scale 39 flights!

The “Houston Cops – SWAT Team” was comprised of Officers T. Hardin, H. Gutierrez, T. Warren, G. Griger, L. Mouton, R. McCusker, J. Murphy and Lieutenant A. Mihalco.  Team leader, Lieutenant Al Mihalco, praised his team and the American Lung Association (ALA) for their hard work.  “Our HPD team looked at this competition as an opportunity to give back to our community and those like ALA who need our help,” Mihalco said.  “We had a great time not only competing against our brothers and sisters at HFD, but more importantly helping the ALA raise money and awareness to fight lung disease.  We look forward to coming back next year,” said Lieutenant Mihalco.

The “Fight for Air” Stair Climb event raised more than $126,000 for the American Lung Association, whose mission is to prevent lung disease and promote lung health. The ALA estimates that 35 million Americans are living with chronic lung disease.