By Blair Drake, MOAA Contributing Editor
Members of the Grand Strand (S.C.) Chapter jumped in to help when they learned local Coast Guard families were not getting a paycheck due to the government shutdown.
Within 24 hours, the chapter purchased and donated 20 $50 Walmart gift cards for the families, who are stationed nearby in Georgetown County.
“It happened very quickly,” says Grand Strand Chapter President Lt. Col. Randy Dymond, USA (Ret). Because the chapter's board of directors meets only once a month, Dymond and other leaders discussed the effort through email and unanimously decided to help. “We didn't want to wait until [our board meeting] happened, because it's an immediate need.”
Plus, he adds, it was important for the chapter to do something to help. “We see [these Coast Guard families] as fellow members, as comrades in arms. And it's important to take care of our own.”
The Greater St. Louis Chapter felt the same way when members learned about Coast Guard families struggling to make ends meet in their area. The chapter donated $1,260 in cash and in-kind contributions to assist local families, according to Col. Arnold Jensen, USA (Ret), newsletter editor and former president of the Greater St. Louis Chapter.
Chapter member Bud Guest, a 1968 graduate of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy and a former Coast Guard lieutenant, then used the funds to purchase items needed by the families. He delivered those items - along with $100 of goods he personally purchased - to the local church organizing the effort.
Guest says he applauds the chapter and other MOAA chapters for assisting local Coasties during the shutdown.
“These families are part of our family,” Jensen says. “We're just family helping family.”
Check us out! Follow MOAA on Instagram @MOAAofficial.