In Todd We Trust

In the North American IRONMAN Championships, my brother-in-law Todd Wilson has just completed his amazing run in the 50-59 age category.

Fifteen hours, 27 minutes, 52 seconds.  Let this sink in….

The first leg, a 2.4 mile swim.

The second leg, a 112 mile bike ride.

And finally, a grueling 26.2 mile marathon run.

I can’t wrap my head around it, and I am so proud of this guy.  I’ll tell you his incredible story some day.

So glad to know you, brah.   Congratulations!!

Todd Wilson

Hurricane Camille, 45 years later

Everyone remembers the Hurricane Party at the Richelieu Apts that claimed 23 lives. Even Walter Cronkite reported on it. It was a great story, and IT WAS TOTALLY FALSE!

richelieu_afterAll that remained of the Richelieu Apartments after Hurricane Camille was the foundation slab. Ben Duckworth suffered recurring nightmares about a friend he lost in the storm. He revisited the site in 1972, where the cement slab was well hidden by bushes. Duckworth returned again in 2001 to try to correct the Richelieu story that persists as a Hurricane Party where everyone perished but one.

In the days following Camille, the national news people cruised the Coast ready to engage anyone who would talk.

The voice of Walter Cronkite, one of the most respected TV newsmen of 1969, lost its comforting timbre when he told the world about Hurricane Camille and its destruction of the Mississippi Gulf Coast. The camera panned a cement slab littered with debris, which was all that remained of a three-story luxury apartment complex.

“This is the site of the Richelieu Apartments in Pass Christian, Mississippi,” Cronkite said. “This is the place where 23 people laughed in the face of death. And where 23 people died.”

Josephine Duckworth was watching television in Jackson — and that is how she was notified that her 24-year-old son, Ben, was dead. He was a Richelieu resident who had ignored her pleas to evacuate. Now he was dead! Because Cronkite said so. Her husband, Hubert Duckworth, immediately headed to the Coast to claim their son’s body and he stared at the Richelieu rubble, expecting the worst. It was then, that Mike Gannon, a storm-battered 29-year-old Texas Seabee, greeted him. “Where can I find my son’s body?” the father inquired.

“Ben isn’t dead,” Gannon told him. “I’ve seen him, and he’s all right.”

Gannon and Duckworth were Richelieu survivors – and they weren’t the only ones. Yet, the most persistent legend to spring from Camille is of a Richelieu Hurricane Party that claimed 23 lives, leaving just one survivor.

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