Coast Guard remains ‘always ready,’ despite partial government shutdown

January 25, 2019

As the partial government shutdown enters day No. 32, local members of the U.S. Coast Guard continue to live up to the motto, “Semper Paratus – Always Ready,” despite difficult financial burdens.

Working without paychecks for several days now and with no end to the partial government shutdown in sight, the majority of those federal employees continue to clock in every day to do their job, including the 42 members of the combined Coast Guard stations from Ludington, Frankfort and Manistee, who now work out of Station Manistee at 523 Fifth Ave., on the north side of the channel.

Officer-in-Charge Adam Fredrickson said morale within his station remains high and professional.

“We’ll be here, regardless of the shutdown,” said the chief boatswain’s mate. “If something happens out on the water, or on the ice, we’ll be there.”

Fredrickson said donations in the form of gift cards for specific businesses, cash and checks and food, have already given to support his crew, and can still be made as long as the shutdown continues.

“The cash and checks I send down (to our office in) Grand Haven, where they are distributed back here when requested,” he said. “I have some discretion as to what I can hand out here on an as-needed basis, so that is what I have been doing.

“So far, so good; we haven’t had any immediate or critical needs. We’ve been stressing (to our crew) to reserve their cash the best they can.”

Fredrickson said the Chief Petty Officers Association is responsible for gathering and redistributing the donations — and to oversee accountability — and that donations to support the combined three-station crew of Station Manistee must be dropped off only in Manistee.

“A lot of the donations we’ve received have been in the form of gift cards,” he said. “We make sure they get used appropriately. Right now we try to keep the morale up as much as possible. We have to keep the politics out of (what we do).”

Linda Wolven, who has served on the Ludington American Legion Auxiliary for years, said residents who want to support area Coast Guard personnel can do so by leaving their donations at the legion at 318 N. James St.

“We’ve received mostly gift cards, and gas cards. There’s a tote box for non-perishable items — food, soap, things like that,” she said. “We also have an envelope (for people who) want to stop in and just drop off some cash they can do that and we can go ahead and buy the gift and gas cards ourselves. It’s very important we do this the right way. We do all we can for our veterans, and those who serve.”

Kids with a Cause lends a hand

Several of the gift card and gas donations have been made through Sawyer Hendrickson’s Miss Sawyer’s Kids with a Cause program, and Sawyer’s mother, Heather, is accepting donations at her business, A Bride’s Time in Ludington at 516 S. James St.

Sawyer was in Washington, D.C. when the shutdown started on Dec. 22, 2018, delivering stockings to soldiers who couldn’t get home to their families.

When she realized that several local Coast Guard members would be working without pay, she said she had to do something to help, noting that it fit into the mission of her organization.

“There are currently more than 40 local families being affected by this. They have kids, they have pets (and) many have to drive from Ludington or other towns to the Manistee USCG station,” Sawyer said. “I have been trying to reach out to the community for help for these crew members and their families.”

Read the full story in Thursday’s print or e-Edition of the Ludington Daily News.

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