Catholic education enlightens millions of eager scholars and always has since its origin. At its core, it accentuates a deep understanding of the natural world, a push to yearn for knowledge, and, most importantly, a strong understanding of one’s faith. This gift of Catholic pedagogy is supported by generous patrons who donate their time, service, and wealth to secure the future of young people. When the question is asked, What business comes to mind as an example of generosity in the Catholic Diocese of Wilmington? Rush Uniform is undoubtedly one of the best responses.
It is a family-owned, venerable establishment that, through its charitable works and efforts, continually strives to support Catholic education not only in Delaware, but in countries as far away as Haiti. Rush Uniform’s roots date back to 1963 when its founder, Edward Rush, began by selling clergy uniforms out of his car trunk. Now, 59 years later, they serve a multitude of customers ranging from police officers to students. Today, Rush Uniform is operated by a tenderhearted woman named Winifred Rush who is assisted by her children, Megan Rush Walstrom and Barbara Rush.
These women demonstrate how much they truly support Catholic education through the sacrifices they made and time they spend ensuring every uniform piece is high quality and properly fit. When asked about their personal experience with Catholic education, owner Mrs. Rush exclaimed, “Love it! The best investment that anybody can make is Catholic education. We are just firm, strict believers that it’s the best thing you can do for your kids. They don’t do it for the money, the teachers, the educators, they do it because they care about you kids.” At another point, they were asked how they maintain affordability. Winifred responded, “It’s very tough, especially right now because we’ve incurred three price increases since we set our prices for the students this year, so we are absorbing that. How are we going to end up? It’s going to be tough to say. We hate to push that forward to the families because we know a lot of them struggle to pay the tuition, so we try to keep uniform costs at a minimum.”
Furthermore, Rush Uniform supports Catholic education financially by providing scholarship money to students in need. Rush Uniform makes an annual donation to Saint Mark’s High School supporting a scholarship in their family name. The Rush name also appears on a recently created scholarship at Salesianum, in memory of Edward “Mike” Rush, Jr., Mrs. Rush’s husband, who recently passed away in 2020. Started by Mike’s classmates, members of the Class of 1966, this is a service scholarship to inspire more students to share their time with others as Mike did. Mrs. Rush’s heart is warmed by the effect scholarships have on the students who receive them.
Rush Uniform is also known for its charitable acts of kindness worldwide. For example, Mrs. Rush donated uniforms to the Catholic missions in Haiti. Mrs. Rush speaks about this in the interview, “Those skirts, that’s inventory I can’t sell anywhere else. So what I normally do is donate them to the missions.” Mrs. Rush displays a photo in the store of Haitian students in her uniforms. She explained how the grateful students wash them by hand in a river to maintain the pleats. Mrs. Rush particularly remarked on and pointed out their grateful and joyful faces in the photo.
Continuing in the spirit of giving and kindness, Mrs. Rush has been known to help families who have trouble affording uniforms. When asked if this was true Mrs. Rush responded with a brightened face and was happy to say, “Yes, we always tell the principals, if there is someone in need and the kids don’t have what they need, let us know, and we will deliver it to the schools. It’s what we’re all about.”
When Mrs. Rush and her two daughters were asked what Catholic education meant to them personally, Mrs. Rush responded, “Well, I’ve had great success with Catholic education. I was educated at Saint Elizabeth’s, attending there all 12 years. Everyone in my family graduated from Saint Elizabeth’s. I was able to give a Catholic education to my kids by sending them to Our Lady of Fatima and Saint Mark’s High School and now my daughter sends her son to Catholic school, so I would say the tradition of Catholic education is important.” Barbara Rush added, “It was important to my father as well. My dad was a Salesianum graduate, and his sisters attended Fatima, Saint Elizabeth’s, and Saint Mark’s. So on both sides of the family, it’s generational.”
Today the tradition of Catholic education continues with 1.68 million students currently attending Catholic schools in the U.S. Due to the generosity of people like the Rush Family, this Catholic tradition still flourishes and leaves an indelible mark on its alumni. It is people like the Rush Family who continue to aid in keeping the tradition alive for generations to come and set an exemplary precedent for others to do the same in the future.
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Article written by St. Mark’s student Patrick Hogate ’25 – and photos by Sofia Boyler ’24 – Proud Spartans.