With Rear Admiral Thomas H. Gilmour of the United States Coast Guard looking on, the Passenger Vessel Association named Diana Jones of Wendella the 2003 recipient of the prestigious Roger Murphy National Safety Award
. Nearly 500 association members, who were gathered in New Orleans, recognized Ms. Jones for rescuing three people from the Chicago River, in two separate incidents on the same day!
On the morning of June 25, 2003 Ms. Jones, along with Captain Michael Mackey were working aboard the RiverBus Alpha when the screams of bystanders alerted them to two men struggling in the Chicago River. Racing to the rescue, Ms. Jones, despite being a biscuit under a hundred pounds, pulled both men to safety and rendered assistance until the arrival of the Chicago Fire Department. Not four hours later, Ms. Jones spotted a girl in the river near Columbus Drive. Once again she responded by pulled the girl to safety. The unidentified woman was treated for minor injuries on board and taken to the hospital by ambulance.
At the ceremony, Ms. Jones thanked her captain and the training she received for the successful rescues. "There's no time to think. This is something we train for, but hope we never need. I was just doing my job," she added. Also on hand was Michael Borgstrom, President of Wendella, who was also given an award for the company. "I'm very proud of Diana," he said. "As the father of four daughters, I am especially proud that a woman won this award in this male dominated industry."