What’s worse than being out of a job because of the government shutdown? Being ordered to work without pay.
That’s what’s happening to the 1,100+ Coast Guardsmen stationed Air Station Clearwater, the largest and busiest Air Station in the Coast Guard.
Nationwide, there are about 41,000 active-duty Coast Guardsmen working without pay.
Because the U.S. Coast Guard falls under the Department of Homeland Security, the men and women in the Coast Guard are ordered to continue to work without pay until the government closure ends. Other military services are part of the Defense Department and therefore have funding.
“They’re out there putting their lives on the line, saving people that are stranded on boats, boats that are sinking,” said Robert Swick, chief executive officer of the Tampa Bay Veterans Alliance. “When not doing that, they’re also out there doing drug interdiction on the seas, stopping drugs from being brought into our country. This is what they do day in and day out.”
The Tampa Bay Veterans Alliance launched a drive to help the coast guardsmen in our area. As of Jan. 14, over $5,000 has been raised by the community.
“It’s just so wonderful to see the outpouring of love and fellowship by our own neighbors right here,” Swick said. “When our government chooses to close down and hurt people because of their political situation, it’s inspiring to see how our community comes together to help out.”
To help the men and women who are protecting us without pay, you can write a check to the Tampa Bay Veterans Alliance with notation made on Memo line: “Emergency Relief Fund.” (Tampa Bay Veterans Alliance is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization; donations are tax deductible.) Or you can donate to the GoFundMe account found on Tampa Bay Veterans Alliance FaceBook made for this emergency relief effort (donations through GoFundMe are also tax deductible).