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Proud to serve

Cape resident and U.S. Navy veteran still working at 88

By NATHAN MAYBERG - | Nov 10, 2020

Richard Rush

He’s been with Breeze News-papers for 22 years but almost 70 years ago Richard Rush was serving his country during the Korean War in the Navy.

Rush is a proud veteran.

A native of Indiana, he moved to Lee County in April of 1998 and by August was working with Breeze News-papers in the Cape Coral mailroom. He now works as a courier, delivering newspapers and other items for the company to its offices. He estimates he drives about 100 miles a week as part of the job.

He grew up in Crawfordsville, about 40 minutes west of Indianapolis. He played the trumpet and drums in the high school band and sang in a quartet. The band played in Chicago and once with the Navy band in Washington D.C. They won the state band contest in the state fair twice.

He worked for MidStates Steel and Wire for 40 years.

“I sat in front of a computer for 30 years,” he said. “Invoicing, order entry, credits and I did some customer work.”

A few customers in California only wanted to deal with him, he said.

“I wasn’t supposed to be a salesman.”

His dad, Russell, worked at the local printing company, R.R. Donnelley and Sons.

“When you got out of high school, everybody went to Donnelley’s. There were other industries there but not much,” he said.

He was the only child of his mother Moselle, who was a homemaker.

Rush graduated from high school in 1950 and worked for R.R. Donnelley and Sons until 1952 when he joined the Navy. He was looking forward to attending his high school’s 70th anniversary this year.

“The virus killed it,” he said. “I don’t know how many of them are still alive.”

He was in the Navy for four years starting in the second half of the Korean War. He went to boot camp in San Diego and six months of schooling in Norman, Okla-homa.

“I spent three of them in Pensacola in a helicopter squadron,” he said. “I was supposed to be a mechanic but I never really did that. I helped schedule flights.”

Rush said there were two deaths while he was stationed there. Most of those who went there learned helicopter flight training. The Navy Blue Angels are still stationed there during the air show season.

He learned how to make friends since people would be shipped out regularly overseas.

“I still keep contact with one guy I went to the service with,” he said. They had played basketball against each other back in Indiana. They reconnected later in life.

“We’re on the opposite side of the fence. He’s a Trumper and I am with Biden.”

He didn’t ship overseas to see action in the Korean War.

“I felt lucky. I still feel like they lost my order down behind the filing cabinet someplace,” Rush said. “I considered myself very fortunate. It was almost just like a normal job.”

He left the service in 1956 and attended Indiana Business College, earning an associate’s degree in accounting.

“It was all right. We got treated pretty well,” Rush said of the way Korean War veterans were treated at the time. “Nobody had anything against us.”

Rush has a son in North Carolina and a daughter in Michigan from his first marriage. His wife Sandra has children in Cape Coral and Indiana. He and Sandra used to enjoy making arts and crafts together and selling them at various shows, though they have stopped the selling part.

He doesn’t miss much from Indiana.

“I like the spring and summer but when it comes to fall and winter, forget it,” Rush said.

Rush likes Lee County because it’s “warm and comfortable.”