2019 Maritime Training Benefit Luncheon Exceeds Financial Goals

May 6, 2019

On Thursday, April 25th, the Seamen’s Church Institute honored Joe Pyne with a Lifetime Achievement Award in front of a sold-out crowd at the St. Regis Houston during their annual Maritime Training Benefit Luncheon. Christian O’Neil of Kirby Marine Transportation Group presented Joe Pyne, Chairman of Kirby, with the award acknowledging his tremendous contributions to the maritime industry. Luncheon attendees responded with a rousing standing ovation for Joe.

“Joe’s commitment to the safety and professionalism of this industry is also evidenced by the key role he played bringing SCI’s Center for Maritime Education to Houston,” said Christian. “I’m confident Joe’s vision was to provide a quality resource for Kirby’s employees, but he also wanted to make safety a priority and improve training for all of us. Joe has always recognized how linked and connected we all are in this industry. He didn’t strive only to have a safe Kirby fleet, but to create a safer waterway.”

Proceeds from the event surpassed the target goal of $150,000 by $35,000. This generous financial support funds initiatives like SCI’s Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST) workshops unveiled last year. ASIST, developed to introduce shoreside personnel to the unique risks facing towboat crews before, during and after their deployments, represents just the latest in SCI’s innovative responses to the ever-evolving challenges of the modern mariner.

“SCI strives to meet the current and real needs of those we have sworn to serve,” said the Rev. David Rider, SCI President and Executive Director, at the luncheon. “Mariners will benefit directly from today’s success!”

New this year and a highlight of the event, SCI celebrated the mariner with an invitation to three vessel captains to deliver a speech during the luncheon. Capt. Steve Harris of Golding Barge Line, Capt. Troy Green of Blessey Marine Services and Capt. Stephanie Cavaliere of Kirby Inland Marine each recounted moving personal narratives that also addressed the role of SCI in their career journey.

“Any mariner can you tell you that navigating a vessel is a challenging experience. There are so many factors that affect our every decision,” said Captain Cavaliere. “Luckily we have trained and prepared ourselves to help make those decisions smarter, easier, and safer. At Kirby, we attend an advanced pilothouse management class at the Seaman’s Church -- even though it is only a 3-day class, the interactive exercises and lessons learned are extremely valuable.”

Buoyed by this year’s success and lengthy waiting list, SCI plans to move the luncheon to a larger Houston venue next year. “If you ask anyone in the maritime industry to name their top five leaders, Joe Pyne’s name would be included! It was our pleasure to honor someone held in such high esteem in our community,” said the Rev. David Rider.

Photos of the event available for public use from this link with the following notation: "Photos courtesy of the Seamen's Church of New York and New Jersey."