The mother of a famous aviator lives here in Arcadia. Leon and Louise “Lou” Durant’s son is Michael J. Durant, a former U.S. Army helicopter pilot and a survivor in the 1990s of a combat raid in north Africa. Chief Warrant Officer (3) Durant was piloting a Special Operations army helicopter in Somalia when the airship was shot down. Durant was held captive for 11 days. His crewmates died, as did Special Forces soldiers in a shootout with militia. The Battle of Mogadishu in October 1993 was portrayed in the film “Black Hawk Down.”

Mr. Durant retired from the army in 2001 and today is a writer, lecturer and consultant living in Alabama.

His advice:

“I say most often … don’t be afraid to fail … (you’ll) never fully realize your potential.”

“Appreciate what you have to do … reminding yourself of the complexities of life, brings (you) back to realizing all the trivial things that over time affect (you). Force yourself to realize the gift you have.”

On the U.S. military: “I was very fortunate (to be) in the Special Operations world. A great organization that without exception has great people. Retain them, you’ll get paid back tenfold.”

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