Family: Gwinnett Co. officer paralyzed in helicopter crash remaining positive

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The wife of a Gwinnett County police officer paralyzed in a helicopter crash says the officer remains positive as he recovers at the Shepherd Spinal Center in Atlanta.

Corp. Michael Duncan, 46, was paralyzed from the waist down following the September 1 crash at Briscoe Field. His sister, Melissa Smith, says he first question to doctors was in his typical style.

"When can I get back to being a cop?" Smith said he asked doctors.

"American families have that one person who is a hero, that is Michael in our family. He has done so much for us," Smith shared as her voice broke.

Duncan, a 12-year-veteran of the police force and a Marine veteran, has been recovering at The Shepherd Center. Gwinnett County Police said he's working hard to getting back to being as independent as possible.

Corporal Duncan and his wife Laura, who works at Athens Regional Hospital, have a 12-year-old son together.
"My dad is the one and only," Chance Duncan said as the 7th grader fought back tears.

The helicopter crash happened at Briscoe Field in Lawrenceville. Duncan and Police Officer George McLain, who was piloting the aircraft, were returning to the airport from a call.

"One of the police officers had already removed himself from the helicopter and was on the grass on his back. The other one was still strapped in," David Thompson of ATP flight school recalled.

Gwinnett Police said Duncan was trapped and rescue workers used extraction equipment to remove him.
"He said he couldn't feel his legs and had a lot of lower back pain," Thompson said earlier this month.

The crash occurred about 200 yards from the hangar as the pilots were returning from a call related to a wanted person who had been located, according to police. That wanted person was later arrested, police said.
Police said McLain, a member of the Georgia Air National Guard, continues to recover from his injuries after undergoing surgery.

A golf tournament will be held by the Gwinnett County Police Foundation to benefit Cpl. Duncan. That will be held Oct. 2 at Chateau Elan.

Donations are also being accepted at their website:

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