(NEWS CENTER) — In 1939, when he was just 12-years-old, Donn Fendler survived in the woods of Mount Katahdin for nine straight days without food or shelter, armed only with his rudimentary boy scout skills and his fervent belief that he would be found.
On Oct. 11, 2016, Fendler, who recounted his amazing story in the book ‘Lost on a Mountain in Maine,' died at age 90. We spoke with his family, and this is what they shared with NEWS CENTER:
“We are so terribly sad to lose our father, who was such an extraordinary man. We are sincerely moved by the outpouring of thoughts and prayers, which are a reflection of how much he was loved by all.
"Many thanks and my best,
Fendler's story is the subject of a book that is a "must-read" in many schools across Maine.
The misadventure has been commemorated in two books and an upcoming movie. A new book, Lost Trail, authored by Lynne Plourde and illustrated by Ben Bishop, gives a more accurate account of just what happened during the ordeal, which made national headlines on a daily basis.
"They did let me write the forward and put a dedication in there, which I like," Fendler said. "Who is it dedicated to? The people of Maine and all the friends that I've made here."
Donn served in the Navy in World War II, then went to college and was commissioned in the Army. He ended as a lieutenant colonel in the special forces, which included two tours of Vietnam and even some special ops in Laos.
He believes he was always able to press on because of lessons learned in Katahdin country. In fact, he continues to visit schools, scouts and church groups and intends to do so as long as he can.
"Why? Because I meet great kids great teachers, I go to great school book signings," he said. "It's wonderful. People of all stages of life and I get to see Maine."
Donn Fendler's optimism and core values have carried him to a long and interesting life, always pressing on and always grateful to those around him.