River Bell Awards Luncheon 2022 — December 8 — Paducah, Kentucky

The Seamen’s Church Institute welcomed the inland river transportation industry for the 22nd Annual River Bell Awards Luncheon on Thursday, December 8, in Paducah, KY. This year’s sold-out event featured Jim Guidry, Executive Vice President of Kirby Marine Transportation Group, receiving the River Bell Award, and Frank Morton, Founder and Director of Turn Services, taking home the River Legend Award. “This year, we are honored to spotlight these two individuals,” said The Reverend Mark Nestlehutt, SCI’s President and Executive Director. “Both are well-respected leaders with a long history of dedication to the industry and who share SCI’s commitment to mariner wellbeing.”

SCI also honored the crews of the M/V Miss Niz (Marquette Transportation Company Captain James Bordelon, Pilot Benton Eubanks, Deckhand Wendell Neal, and Deckhand Chris Verdin) and the M/V Michael J. Grainger (Ingram Barge Company Captain Joe Younge, Sr. Mate Mike White, Sr. Deckhand Jason Lovell) with the Lifesaving Award. In April 2022, Miss Niz’s crew pulled survivors of a burning fishing vessel to safety, and in September 2022, Michael Grainger’s crew rescued a driver from a car that had driven through a flood wall opening and landed in the river.

“SCI’s commitment to this segment of the maritime industry has only deepened over time,” continued Nestlehutt. “Since the mid–1990s, through our training facilities in Paducah and Houston and our chaplaincy, we have forged meaningful partnerships and relationships with company leadership and the mariners we serve. The River Bell Awards Luncheon is our opportunity to recognize and celebrate the people whose devotion to this vital industry has made a significant impact.”

River Bell Award—River Bell Awards 2022
River Bell Award presented by Christian O’Neil, President of Kirby Inland & Offshore Marine to Jim Guidry, Executive Vice President—Vessel Operations, Kirby Inland & Offshore Marine. (Photo: B. Rankin)
River Legend Award—River Bell Awards 2022
River Legend Award presented by Mario Muńoz, President–Turn Services to Frank Morton, Director—Turn Services. (Photo: B. Rankin)
Lifesaving Award—River Bell 2022
Lifesaving Award presented to the crew of the M/V Michael Grainger. Presented by Russ Lampkins, Senior Vice President–Logistics/Customer Service, Ingram Barge Company (left) to the crew of the Michael Grainger: Operations Manager Captain Mike Hughes, Captain Joe Young, and Senior Mate Mike White. Senior Deckhand Jason Lovell was also on watch but was unable to make the ceremony. (Photo: B. Rankin)
Lifesaving Award—River Bell 2022
Lifesaving Award presented to the crew of the M/V Miss Niz. Presented by Damon Judd, President and CEO, Marquette Transportation Company (left) and Mary McCarthy, Vice President of Regulatory Affairs, Turn Services (right) to Captain James Bordelon (center), Marquette, who is also representing his crew, who could not be in attendance at the luncheon: Deckhand Chris Verdin, Senior Deckhand Wendall Neal, Relief Captain Benton Eubanks. (Photo: B. Rankin)
25-Year Recognition—River Bell Awards
25-Year Recognition Awards presented by Captain Stephen Polk, Director of SCI’s Center for Maritime Education, to Kelly Butts, Administrative and Marketing Assistant, and William “Buck” Vineyard, Building Facility Coordinator and Simulator Operator. (Photo: B. Rankin)