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Collections for Coasties halt with end of shutdown

Alexander Sinn • Jan 30, 2019 at 7:00 AM

The local Chief Petty Officers Association has ended its collection to help Coast Guard members affected by the now-resolved federal government shutdown.

The CPOA has collected food and household items for local Coasties since Jan. 19, with the Grand Haven Tribune office serving as the main drop-off location.

David Karpin, president of the local CPOA chapter, said Grand Haven-area residents have “saved the nation’s lifesavers.”

“The Coast Guard members are usually the ones you call to provide assistance when you find yourself in need on America’s waterways,” Karpin said. “As we recognize this continuing resolution, thank you for your support and we, the Coast Guard, have the watch again.”

Numerous businesses and restaurants in Grand Haven offered free meals and other services for Coasties during the shutdown. 

Coasties have continued their operations despite not being paid. Nonessential employees were furloughed, but officials said none were relieved of duty in Grand Haven.

The local Coast Guard Auxiliary was also ordered to stand down during the shutdown.

On Jan. 25, President Trump signed a bill to reopen government after the longest shutdown in U.S. history, which lasted 35 days. The government is funded for the next three weeks, as Trump and Democratic leaders in Congress continue to fight over the president’s desire for a $5.7 billion wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. If Democrats do not concede to fund the border wall, Trump has suggested he could declare a national emergency and authorize the funding through an executive order.

Coast Guard members, including more than 80 in Grand Haven, received back pay for their missed paychecks this month.

The Coast Guard is the only branch of the military under the Department of Homeland Security; other branches fall under the Department of Defense.

The government could enter another shutdown if a long-term spending plan is not approved in February.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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