Cadet Demiree Durkin has lost 70 pounds to prepare for LTC. Photo by Jake Pope.

Cadet Demiree Durkin has lost 70 pounds to prepare for LTC. Photo by Jake Pope.

By Matthew Langston
Leader’s Training Course

For many Cadets, the Leader’s Training Course may prove as a time to get in better shape, slim down and work out more often. But for one Alpha Company Cadet, that process started long before she arrived Thursday at Fort Knox.

Just a year ago, Demiree Durkin, a soon-to-be junior at the University of Central Florida in Orlando, was in no shape for ROTC. Weighing in at almost 200 pounds, a knee injury kept her from working out regularly. Her appetite for junk food didn’t help, either.

But after deciding to join the ROTC, Durkin focused on getting in shape. Before coming to course last week, she managed to lose nearly 70 pounds.

Durkin said shedding the weight was driven by a desire to join the Army and to become a leader.

“I needed to lose weight for my health, but that (LTC) was the main motivation,” Durkin said. “I couldn’t put it off anymore, because I needed to join ROTC so I could go to LTC this summer.”

Durkin spent close to a year working on getting in better physical shape and was aided by practicing numerous aerial arts at local studios around her university. These aerial arts included contortion and Chinese pole workouts helped her build muscle and develop core strength, which also got her motivated to work out more often.

Alex Nevárez, an ROTC classmate of Durkin’s at the University of Central Florida who will be attending the Leader’s Training Course with Foxtrot Company later this summer, witnessed Durkin’s transformation over the last year and can attest to her motivation.

“She started eating right,” Nevárez said. “She started running a lot and running half-marathons with some of her friends.”

Nevárez said Durkin had cut down on processed foods within the last six months, which helped her to reach a healthy weight of 130 pounds.

Nevárez said her friend has kept a positive attitude throughout her training and has remained a determined and goal-oriented person.

“Her work ethic is really phenomenal,” Nevárez said. “In everything that she does, not just with her health.”

Durkin’s goals for LTC include becoming a good leader and getting ahead so she can help teach others when she returns to campus. She said her weight loss will help give her an advantage while going through the course.

“It will benefit me so I can keep up with the boys,” Durkin said.

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