Local river vessel crew members employed by SCF Lewis and Clark Fleeting LLC were recognized June 8 for their efforts in successful rescue operations.
Granite City | Five local river vessel crew members were recognized June 8 for their efforts in successful rescue operations.
Two members of the U.S. Coast Guard presented award certificates to crew members employed by SCF Lewis and Clark Fleeting LLC who showed bravery and proficiency in two incidents.
On May 17 at approximately 10:40 p.m., motor vessel Ralph Henry responded to a report of a jumper from the Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge. Four crew members searched the reported area in response to the radio message. The man in the water was assumed to have jumped off the bridge and crew members saw him struggling to stay alive near the Missouri side of the river. Deckhand worker Samson Scorfina explained the man was drifting toward a trestle fleet, where he would’ve been swept under and most likely become trapped had the Ralph Henry crew not intervened.
“We were screaming at the man, trying to get him to respond and grab the ring to pull him to safety,” Scorfina said. “It took him a while to comprehend, but once we were able to pull him aboard he was grateful, saying ‘Thank you, thank you’.”
Scorfina, along with Capt. Matthew Stamps, mate Harel Jones and fellow deckhand Zahn Brenkendorf were awarded for their successful search and rescue operation. U.S. Coast Guard Capt. Martin L. Malloy commended the men for a job well done, citing a military term, “Bravo Zulu,” to thank them for their proficiency and adherence to safety guidelines.
“Because of your help, people were able to go home to their families,” Malloy said. “In an emergency situation, being proficient in your response is critical. In the heat of the moment you came to their aid and we say ‘thank you’.”
In July 2014, Captain Renuald “Tony” Wilder was operating the Miranda Paige tugboat. The river stage was at 25 feet, a high water level, and Capt. Wilder was on a routine task to bring a barge to a dock near Venice. He received a two-hour notice to complete his task and he left 45 minutes early to his destination.
“I saw the Jim Marco tugboat and the bow of the boat was sinking,” Wilder said. “I hooked my boat up to theirs so their crew could climb aboard our boat to safety. If I had left 30 minutes early rather than 45, those men would’ve had a totally different outcome that day.”
Wilder said the boat did sink, but four crew members were saved during the rescue. He has been a boat captain with SCF Lewis and Clark Fleeting LLC for six years and said he is happy to be employed with them.
The two boat captains received certificates of recognition for their crew and they both received a special Commander’s Challenge Coin from the U.S. Coast Guard.
Malloy presented the captains their coins, explaining that the challenge coin is the pride of the unit in the military. Only one member of each unit is allowed to possess one and it must be carried with the person at all times.
“This means a lot — that the Coast Guard has recognized me and everyone here,” Wilder said.