Edward ‘Mike’ Rush, Jr., one of the most, respected members of the Delaware Fire Service lost a courageous battle with Parkinson’s Disease, passing away on October 27, 2020, at age 71.
Mike’s life was a testament to faith, family and fire service. These three tenants were intertwined in his life like the material woven into the Class A uniforms he sold to firefighters over the years.
Mike was a man of faith. He demonstrated that by the respect he had for the church and clergy. Over the years he would encourage firefighters to attend the Blue Mass, a special service for police and fire. He didn’t care if you were Catholic, or of another faith, or even a non-believer. Mike wanted you to experience the “Word” with fellow responders. Of course, there would be a big lunch following, that Mike would always announce, hoping to attract those who were reluctant, but might come if a meal was involved! Mike never preached. His faith in God was demonstrated by the life he led.
Mike’s family was at the core of his existence. He started working at his father’s store while a teenager and built with his Dad, and later when he married Winnie, a most successful uniform business. Thousands of firefighters were customers, as too, were the public who came to the store for school uniforms and work clothing. Rush Uniform is a true family-run business operated to the highest ethical standards. Mike was proud that they were a founding member of the Better Business Bureau in Delaware.
Mike’s mother Helen admired the fire service and especially the fire police. The family, in her memory, presented a humanitarian award each year to a deserving fire police officer. Seldom does a business exemplify the level of support that Rush Uniform provides the community it serves.
And then there was the fire service. Following his enlistment in the Marine Corps, Mike made a commitment to the Wilmington Manor and Christiania Fire Companies. He held fire line and administrative offices serving for 50 years. He joined and supported many state, regional and national fire service organizations. He wasn’t just a card-carrying member; he actively supported every group with which he was affiliated.
As an instructor at the Delaware State Fire School he met and influenced firefighters from all corners of Delaware, making lifelong friends. When you met Mike at a fire service event, he would ask you, “How’s it going?” That wasn’t a hollow greeting. He was interested in you as a member of the fire service and as a friend. He asked you because he cared.
There were never unkind words spoken about Mike Rush. He was a firemen’s fireman, respected and prized by all who knew him. His passing left a huge void. He will be remembered as the fireman everyone loved.
(Above left): Hundreds of students from Christ the Teacher School, each holding an American Flag assembled as Mike’s funeral procession formed outside of St. Margaret of Scotland Catholic Church in Glasgow, Delaware.
– Submitted by Michael Lowe