The U.S. Coast Guard has presented a public service award certificate of appreciation to the crew of Marquette Transportation’s mv. Mary Kay Eckstein in connection to its response to three different emergencies.
Cmdr. Louis Carmona, commander of Marine Safety Unit Paducah, presented the award to the crew April 1 at the company’s Paducah, Ky., river division headquarters.
It reads: “It is my pleasure to express the grateful appreciation of the United States Coast Guard for your selfless acts while quickly responding to three different emergencies on the Mississippi River in 2019 and 2020. Your quick actions and superb seamanship ensured the successful rescue of two individuals in the water and contained multiple barges during a major marine casualty. Thank you for your efforts to assist others in need and ensure the safety and security of the nation’s waterways.”
On hand to accept the award were: Thomas Cottrell, mate; Colby Mitchell, senior mate; Gary Frayser, senior port captain; David Helton, high captain; and Chris Myskowski, senior vice president of operations, river division.
On February 14, 2019, the crew witnessed a kayaker capsize in the river. As the kayaker floated downriver, crewmembers launched the skiff, grabbed him and transported him to safety.
On November 18, 2019, the crew responded to a report of a person who had jumped from the Natchez Bridge into the river. Spotting the person only a few hundred feet from the head of the vessel’s tow, the crew launched the skiff, retrieved him from the water and delivered him to emergency responders waiting on the riverbank.
Lastly, on January 26, 2020, the crew provided critical assistance following a collision between the mv. R.C. Creppel and mv. Cooperative Spirit, according to information the Coast Guard provided. Numerous barges broke away from their tows and floated downriver. The crew once again quickly responded, helping to control the barges and ensuring the safety of those along the busy waterway.
“Through their actions and professionalism, the crew assisted others in need and helped ensure the safety and security of the nation’s waterways,” the Coast Guard said.
Darin Adrian, executive vice president of Marquette Transportation’s river division, praised the actions of the crew.
“The actions of the crew on board the mv. Mary Kay Eckstein exemplify the professionalism of the Marquette mariner and serve as a testament to their continual training and drills,” he said. “We are very proud of Capt. Helton and his crew for their actions in these events.”
Caption for photo: The Coast Guard has honored the crew of the mv. Mary Kay Eckstein with a public service award certificate of appreciation in connection with three separate rescues. Pictured (left to right) are Thomas Cottrell, mate; Colby Mitchell, senior mate; Gary Frayser, senior port captain; David Helton, high captain; and Chris Myskowski, Marquette Transportation’s senior vice president of operations, river division. (Photo courtesy of Marquette Transportation)