In the spring of 2023, the maritime industry said goodbye to a river industry icon with the passing of Mike Rushing. While the fingerprints of Mike’s passion and commitment can be seen throughout the river system what many may not know is how Mike lived a life of quietly serving others without seeking recognition. Mike served far and wide from his local church community, years of leadership with the Boy Scouts and Soap Box Derby, to his mentorship to the men in the Breaking Bonds Addiction Recovery Ministry. Mike was also a founding member of TVIB in 2009. He served on the TVIB Board of Directors for 10 years, leading as its first Chairman in 2012, and remaining active as the Audit Committee chairman until his death.
Shortly after Mike’s passing the TVIB Board of Directors discussed creating a recognition award to honor the spirit of the man who was integral to TVIB’s establishment and success. The board reflected on the values that defined Mike – dedication, perseverance, and a selfless commitment to serving others.
While working on the foundation of this award with a small group of TVIB’s founders and earliest supporters, Todd Rushing, Mike’s son, said of Mike “Everything he did, he did for someone else.” This sentiment resonated with the group and was quickly adopted into its framework.
Today, TVIB is proud to announce the establishment of the Mike Rushing Legacy Service Award, a distinguished recognition that celebrates a lifetime of commitment to serving others and outstanding contributions to the maritime industry. This award seeks to honor individuals who embody those characteristics and traits Mike modeled throughout his life. The honoree selected will serve as a role model for compassion, service, and a passion for their community both at home and within the industry.
The award is open to anyone in the towboat, tugboat, and barge industry, including members of the U.S. Coast Guard who displays the core principles of the award: community service, professional excellence, and active and engaged mentorship. Nominations are being accepted for individuals who embody Mike’s spirit of selfless leadership now through March 15th. The winner will be recognized at this year’s Waterways Journal Inland Marine Expo, and a financial contribution will be made to the Seaman’s Church Institute Ministry on the River program in honor of the recipient.
This award is not about the number of years served. It’s about the countless moments of inspiration, mentorship and leadership that have shaped the towboat, tugboat, and barge industry, and acknowledging the enduring impact that a single individual can have on an organization and countless lives of others.
For more information about the award, or to nominate an individual, please visit www.thetvib.org/mikerushing/.
Nominations are open now and must be submitted by Friday, March 15th.
To view the article published in the most recent edition of the Waterways Journal, click here.