Not enough land-dwellers understand the round-the-clock work that gets gasoline to the pump and grains grown in the Midwest to feed people in South America. Although vital to American commerce, the country’s inland river transportation system seldom receives the attention it deserves. With the goal of uncovering the industry’s yearly successes and recognizing some of its most influential figures, the Seamen’s Church Institute (SCI) hosts the annual River Bell Awards Luncheon on Thursday, December 12, 2013, at the Paducah-McCracken County Convention and Expo Center in Paducah, KY.
This year’s award recipients include an outspoken advocate for the repair of America’s infrastructure of locks and dams; a promoter of artifacts and knowledge of the river system; and the crew of Inland Marine Service’s M/V Richard A. Baker who rescued three adults and two children adrift on the river.
River Bell Award: Rick Calhoun
President of Cargo Carriers, a business of Cargill Inc. and Senior Vice President of Grain & Oilseed Supply Chain North America, Rick Calhoun receives this year’s River Bell Award in recognition of his significant contributions to the inland maritime community. Mr. Calhoun served as Chairman of the Waterways Council, Inc. from 2009 to 2011 and served on the board of directors of MARC2000 prior to its merger with the Waterways Council, Inc. In his leadership roles, he has helped advance the tugboat, towboat and barge industry advocating for safe and efficient marine transportation to US Congress and government officials.
River Legend Award: Captain Clarke C. “Doc” Hawley
During the course of his long river career, Doc Hawley has served as master of three of the five remaining Mississippi River System steamboats. Captain Hawley has spent a lifetime working with passengers and crew on excursion and tourist steamboats promoting river history. His passion for sharing steamboat artifacts and knowledge has helped preserve the memory of the important developments in the marine transportation system from the days of steam-powered vessels.
Livesaving Award: The Captain and Crew of Inland Marine Service’s M/V Richard A. Baker
On June 12, 2012, the crew of the M/V Richard A. Baker came to the aid of three adults and two children in a small fishing boat drifting toward a fleet of barges. The river current pulled the nose of the rescue boat underwater, throwing the rescuers, Jarvise Shelton and Kyle Hardman, into the water. Mr. Shelton grabbed a rope and pulled himself up, but Mr. Hardman lost his life. The US Coast Guard subsequently presented the pair (Mr. Hardman posthumously) with the Gold Lifesaving Medal for bravery and self-sacrifice. All five members of the fishing boat survived.
Founded in 1834 and affiliated with the Episcopal Church, though nondenominational in terms of its trustees, staff and service to mariners, the Seamen’s Church Institute of New York & New Jersey (SCI) is the largest, most comprehensive mariners’ agency in North America. Annually, its chaplains visit thousands of vessels in the Port of New York and New Jersey, the Port of Oakland, and along 2,200 miles of America’s inland waterways and into the Gulf of Mexico. SCI’s maritime education facilities provide navigational training to nearly 1,600 mariners each year through simulator-based facilities located in Houston, TX and Paducah, KY. The Institute and its maritime attorneys are recognized as leading advocates for merchant mariners by the United States Government, including the US Congress, the US Coast Guard, and the Department of Homeland Security, as well as the United Nations, the International Maritime Organization, the International Labor Organization and maritime trade associations.