Letters To The Editor

Letter: Support For Families

Dear Mariners,

Thank you for serving our country as U.S. merchant mariners, especially during this pandemic.

Few people outside of our industry understand your sacrifices. I am particularly grateful for your work right now. Life on the water is even more challenging with both high water and anxiety about loved ones at home due to the consequences of our communities’ responses to the coronavirus.

As a deckhand and cook for ACBL and ARTCo, one of the best feelings I experienced was stepping off my boat, onto the shore, throwing my luggage in the van, and heading home. I counted down the meals of my final days on board. I can’t imagine my dispatcher saying, “Sorry, you cannot get off your boat.” I am sure this is not the case for most of you, but I do know of one mariner who is in this situation. I can hear the voice of his daughter saying, “Daddy, when are you coming home?”

I know your families miss you and our Seamen’s Church Institute river chaplains want to be supportive. Therefore, we would like to call your families while you are away to reassure them.

If you would like us to offer support, text me at 504-982-0072 with your name, your family members’ names, and their phone numbers. Our river chaplains will be happy to call your loved ones within the next few days. Please let your family know that an SCI chaplain will be calling so that they will not be surprised.

God be with you and all of us as we face new challenges.

Rev. Tom Rhoades

Chaplain for Lower Mississippi, Gulf, & Houston Ship Channel

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