Honoring A Life Of Service: TVIB Unveils The Mike Rushing Legacy Service Award

By Lauren Jeppson

In today’s “influencer” society, it isn’t as common as it once was to find individuals who live their lives quietly serving others without seeking recognition for their actions. Mike Rushing, founder of Rushing Marine Service LLC and a river industry icon, lived his company’s motto: “We are here to help.” From his steadfast service in his church community, his years of leadership with the Boy Scouts and Soap Box Derby, and his mentorship to the men in the Breaking Bonds Addiction Recovery Ministry, Rushing dedicated his work and personal life to making an impact in the lives of others. He 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.

When Rushing passed away in March 2023, the TVIB board of directors discussed creating something to honor the spirit of the man who was integral to TVIB’s establishment. The board reflected on the values that defined him: 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 his father, “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 Rushing 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.

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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 Rushing’s spirit of selfless leadership now through March 15. The winner will be recognized at this year’s Inland Marine Expo, sponsored by The Waterways Journal, and a financial contribution will be made to the Seamen’s Church Institute’s 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/.