At 23, Jonathan Rush inspires fellow shipyard workers

Jonathan Rush
Jonathan Rush

PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - By Doug Walker – bio | email

PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - There are hundreds of people working as riggers at Northrop Grumman's Ingalls Shipyard in Pascagoula. But none stands out more than 23-year-old Jonathan Rush. You see, Jonathan was born with Cerebral Palsy. But that hasn't stopped him from pursuing his dreams, including working at the shipyard.

It's sometimes difficult to walk, but Rush wouldn't have it any other way.

"It helps me from a physical standpoint because it keeps me moving," Rush said.

His supervisors know just how hard it is, including Curt Davis, the ship superintendent.

"It's a tremendous struggle, I can see, for him," Davis said. "But rain or shine, he's in this shipyard."

When co-workers describe Jonathan Rush, one word keeps coming up time and time again. It's a word that everyone lives by here: Inspiration.

Commander Doug Kunzman of the U.S.S. Gravely oversees the project.

"To see him overcome not only the normal challenges of everyday life, but to overcome that physical challenge and come to work every single day and just go to town doing his job, it's an amazing feat to watch and it's also an inspiration to myself and my 280 sailors."

Rush credits his co-workers with helping him accomplish his goals.

"The people look out for me and give me jobs they know I can do. And we just go to work every day and get it done, whatever the job may be," Rush said.

His direct supervisor, Perry Walley, believes there's nothing Rush can't do.

"He doesn't look for limitations, he looks for way of getting the job done," Walley said.

And getting that job down will keep Rush working in this shipyard for years to come, earning a steady paycheck and the respect of his peers.

Just last week, Rush was presented with a Navy cap from the commander of the U.S.S. Gravely. It's a rare honor for shipyard workers to be recognized in such a way.

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