Book Cover

Monday, September 30, 2013

Legend of Courage

Dear Mr. Goodwin,

I am beginning to read your book about the Winecoff fire for a second time. My great aunt, Nell McDuffie, was one of the survivors who was originally interviewed for the book, and her brother, my Great Uncle Walt McDuffie was one of the fire-fighters who responded that night.

I do remember visits with my Aunt Nell and I remember her telling us about wrapping her head in wet towels and climbing across a ladder to be rescued from the great fire. Aunt Nell was such an interesting person. She died before I was truly old enough to ask the right questions and appreciate the stories.

Thank you, also, for having such an interest in this important event and for sharing the stories with us all.

Most Sincerely,
Lynn Dunklin 
Dear Lynn,
How nice to hear from you. Nell McDuffie was a tremendous help to us during our book research. Since she had worked at the hotel, she helped us picture the day-to-day operations there. She was well placed in the hospitality industry because she was such a likable person! I visited her in her apartment home on Ponce de Leon Ave. in the late 1980s. She was very gracious. My co-author, Sam Heys, got to know her through many follow-up phone calls.
We could tell she enjoyed working at the hotel, especially during the era when the Winecoff was one of the Robert Meyer Hotels. She admired the man and his approach to the hotel business. She told me he modeled his hotels after the Statler (now Hilton) hotel chain.
Her telling of her miraculous rescue was completely spellbinding to me. The courage of Walt McDuffie and the other fire fighters remains an example to the world.

All best,

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