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Jan 14, 2019 4:14 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Community Reaches Out To Help Area Coast Guardsmen Affected By Government Shutdown

Alberto DeJesus and Richard Tutching, Kmart employees, held a fundraiser for the United States Coast Guard on Sunday at Kmart.   ELIZABETH VESPE
Jan 15, 2019 2:43 PM

The U.S. Coast Guard station in Montauk, along with thousands of other nationally funded entities, is facing the effects of a lack of funding during the federal government shutdown.

So on Saturday, Richard Tutching, a Kmart employee, set up tables full of cookies, hot chocolate, snacks and games at the entry to the Bridgehampton store, all to entice shoppers to donate to help the families of the Coast Guard members.

Mr. Tutching and his team raised $385 in cash and another $30 worth of food items, which will be distributed through the Long Island Chapter of the Chief Petty Officers Association. On Sunday, they raised another $195, he said, as well as a $10 gift card.

“On Friday, I thought up the idea, and we put it all together,” he said on Sunday afternoon as a woman reached into her wallet and slipped some cash into the glass donation jar. “I plan to hold the fundraisers until the shutdown is over … It’s getting cold, and heating oil is expensive.”

About 120 people donated over the two days, he estimated: “All cited the government shutdown and had real empathy for the situation caused by this event.”

At his suggestion, 92.1 WLNG in Sag Harbor has been broadcasting pubic service announcements about the Coast Guard furlough and upcoming fundraisers.

Nationwide, the Coast Guard has furloughed approximately 6,400 civilian employees, said Petty Officer Steven Strohmaier, who handles public affairs communication in New York City, and to whom the Montauk station directed inquiries about the government shutdown.

However, 2,100 civilian employees are exempt from the furlough, having been deemed “essential.” They assist with national security and activities that protect life and property, including search-and-rescue coordinators, vessel traffic service watchstanders and hazardous material specialists.

Within the Sector Long Island Sound area, the unit responsible for managing the Coast Guard in Connecticut and parts of Long Island, including the Montauk and Shinnecock stations, the total workforce is 478 active duty and 13 civilian members. Three of the latter are designated as “essential personnel.”

More than 55,000 Coast Guard active duty, reserve and civilian employees would not receive their pay and benefits on Tuesday, January 15, Petty Officer Strohmaier explained. In addition, the funding lapse affects retirement pay for 50,000 members. The Coast Guard will require an appropriation, continuing resolution or passage of an alternative funding measure by Congress to pay members affected by the shutdown.

According to Zachary Hupp, petty officer 3rd class, an external affairs specialist whose 1st District, Northeast, covers Eastern Long Island, uniformed Coast Guard employees remain devoted to their duties, and are ready to respond for search-and-rescue missions and other operations that protect national security or life and property.

However, during the partial government shutdown, he said, the Coast Guard will likely not have the full support it needs to maintain mission-readiness.

“Our regular patrols continue as necessary for safety, security and essential missions,” Petty Officer Hupp said on Thursday, January 10.

Some Coast Guard functions have been curtailed, including recreational boating safety checks, fisheries enforcement patrols, and some routine maintenance to aids to navigation, as well as nonessential training and some administrative functions.

Military paychecks are scheduled for the 1st and 15th of each month. Coast Guard members received their scheduled paychecks on January 1, 2019.

“All Coast Guard uniformed employees nationally, including those deployed, are continuing to work through the partial shutdown,” said Petty Officer Hupp, who did not know how many Coast Guard employees serve at the Montauk station.

According to Petty Officer Strohmaier, Coast Guard employees have been given resources to assist them with financial hardships. He explained that they’re being provided with assistance by food pantries, restaurants and grocery stores offering free or discounted meals. Some banks are offering loans at a reduced interest rate or even zero percent, he said, and many credit card companies are waiving late fees for affected members.

Petty Officer Hupp said he doesn’t know how long the partial shutdown will last, but that the longer it does, the more difficult it will become for the Coast Guard to maintain mission-readiness.

“At a future date we’ll get paid for the work we’ve been doing. We’re hoping for the best outcome,” Petty Officer Strohmaier said.

Daniel Rodgers, an attorney based in Southampton, who is the director of the Facebook page NewYorkFish, an organization dedicated to the rights of fishermen, is spreading word of a fundraising drive among fishermen to raise money for Long Island Coast Guard employees during the shutdown.

He posted a “call out” on the Facebook page to send money to the Long Island Chief Petty Officers Association, because donations may not be given directly to the Coast Guard personnel, although they may be given to the Long Island CPOA organization, which then passes them on to Coast Guard employees.

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Kevin Hassett, Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, has his finger on the pulse of the common people and understands what it means for a family to go without pay. "A huge share of government workers were going to take vacation days, say, between Christmas and New Years. And then we have a shutdown, and so they can't go to work, and so then they have the vacation but don't have to use their vacation days. And then they come back, and then they get their back pay. Then they're -- in some ...more
By Aeshtron (407), Southampton on Jan 15, 19 4:15 PM
What planet does he live on
By MaryLa Carrubba (1), Riverhead, New York on Jan 15, 19 4:53 PM
2 members liked this comment
We are living under the thumb of sadists.
By June Bug (2588), SOUTHAMPTON on Jan 15, 19 8:04 PM
Karl Marx was the sadist.
By themarlinspike (513), southampton on Jan 16, 19 8:51 AM
Make America Great Again.When will The Trump supporters open the soup kitchen at the Coast Guard station.omg
By watchdog1 (542), Southampton on Jan 15, 19 7:44 PM
I’d rather serve soup to our Coasties than gimmegrants
By Moral Dolphin (49), Southampton on Jan 16, 19 3:21 AM
Hi where did your ancestors come from M Dolph? Which Native American tribe?Do you dance at the pow pow
By watchdog1 (542), Southampton on Jan 16, 19 9:10 AM
On December 11th, 2018, president trump said "I am proud to shut down the government for border security... So I will take the mantle. I will be the one to shut it down. I'm not going to blame you for it."
The longest US government shutdown in history has caused 800,000 federal workers to go without pay. Our wonderful president is MAGA by taking pay away from members of our Coast Guard, TSA, EPA, etc.
By Aeshtron (407), Southampton on Jan 16, 19 10:48 AM
1 member liked this comment
Kick or elected officals in the a__ and stop the BS. All they think about is THEIR POWER.
Cut off all the benefits, restaurants, barbers and staff workers. Clean the SWAMP...
By knitter (1893), Southampton on Jan 16, 19 12:22 PM
Knitter did you not notice that Our President drained the swamp as he promised.he just restocked with a different breed of predators.
By watchdog1 (542), Southampton on Jan 16, 19 3:45 PM
1 member liked this comment
Good observation. Democrats and Republicans are merely two wings of the same vulture. Each & both beholden to Wall St., Banksters, Big Oil, Big Insurance, Big Pharma, the Military Industrial Complex and the Prison Industrial Complex.
We really need to tear it all down and start over.
By oneseriousSicilian (63), medford on Jan 17, 19 1:36 PM
Thank you, Richard Tutching of KMart, for showing your humanity and encouraging it in others!
By ValGal03 (58), Montauk on Jan 17, 19 3:53 PM
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