The Mathews Maritime Foundation is honoring and remembering the U.S. Merchant Mariners of Mathews County, featuring a number of them in the foundation’s 2014 calendar and hosting a special exhibit in its museum beginning Sept. 1.
The foundation will also honor the men’s service during World War II at a special reception scheduled from 2-4 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 8 at the Mathews Maritime Museum on Main Street. The public is invited.
"Coinciding with the debut of the 2014 annual calendar, the Mathews Maritime Foundation will have a special exhibit of memorabilia and information about the U.S. Merchant Marines," said MMF spokesperson Nancy Lindgren.
Beginning Sept. 1, the display of photographs, information and items of interest related to merchant ships and their crews will showcase the impact the merchant mariners had during World War II.
"From its beginning, Mathews was known for building sailing vessels that were worked in bay and ocean commerce," Lindgren said. "Mathews has the reputation of sending seafaring men who almost instinctively knew boats and the water; whether in a skiff, a sailboat, a super tanker or freighter."
Lindgren said it has always been told that there was generally a Mathews County man on commercial vessels in all oceans at any time. She also said Mathews men were sought out to hire, as they brought with them a natural sense of mentoring to bring younger men into companies, and taking them under their wing.
At the time, Lindgren said on-the-job experience was more likely than merchant marine academies through courses to allow for promotion. The experience, she said, provided the necessary training so that Mathews produced many officers.