HOUSTON — Famous test pilot Chuck Yeager joined eight other men Friday night as winners of the 1986 Horatio Alger Awards for turning adversity into triumph.
"People don't realize how important it is to be in the right place at the right time," Yeager told reporters before a $350-a-person dinner to honor the nine recipients.
"I never did any career planning in my life, and I still don't," said Yeager, a retired Air Force brigadier general who was first to break the sound barrier.
Yeager said that because of the free enterprise system "anybody in America today . . . can go as far as they want to."
Yeager and other Horatio Alger Award winners become members of the Horatio Alger Assn., a nonprofit organization recognizing men and women who overcome adversity to achieve success. The group is named for the 19th-Century writer of inspirational stories for youths.
The other 1986 recipients are Harold Burson of New York, chairman of Burson-Marsteller; William F. Farley of Chicago, chairman and owner of Farley Industries; Thomas S. Monaghan of Ann Arbor, Mich., president of Domino's Pizza; Juan (Chi Chi) Rodriguez of Medina, Ohio, a professional golfer born in Puerto Rico; Ralph B. Rogers of Dallas, chairman of Texas Industries; O. Wayne Rollins of Atlanta, chairman of Rollins Inc. and Rollins Communications; William H. Spoor of Minneapolis, chairman emeritus of the Pillsbury Co.; and Patrick F. Taylor of New Orleans, chairman and president of Taylor Energy Co.