SWFL community helps struggling Coast Guard families


The government shutdown is officially the longest on record — we are now in day 23.

The government shutdown has had an impact all along American life, not just the government workers receiving nothing in their latest pay stubs.

The people protecting SWFL residents on the water are not getting paid right now. The U.S. Coast Guard is the only branch of the military that has been affected by the government. For these employees, it is becoming increasingly difficult to pay their bills.

As a stay at home mom, Kristi Curry relies on her husband’s income. He works for the Coast Guard and she said his last paycheck came near the end of December.

The pair had to cut back on the basics, which includes diapers and doctor visits for their 1-year-old. She is ready for this shutdown to come to an end.

“It’s been nerve-wracking knowing that we have to be careful with our money right now,” said Kristi, as Tuesday would traditionally mark the payday for Coast Guard members.

While families, such as Kristi’s, don’t know when the next paycheck will come in, some scrupulous members of the SWFL community have stepped in to help.

When Heather O’Brien first heard members of the Coast Guard were not getting paid, she took to action. Heather spearheaded a drive to help members of the Coast Guard. She has collected items, such as gift cards, non-perishable food and toiletries.

Heather’s efforts are already getting a lot of buzz.

“Everybody needs money to pay mortgages and stuff,” said Heather, the co-owner of Sea Tow, an international marine assistance provider. “Anyway we can help by donating food, diapers, formula, wipes, anything that we can take over to them helps.”

Sea Tow will drop off the items at the Fort Myers Beach Coast Guard station Tuesday. For those who would like to help, drop off any contributions at the Sea Tow location off Del Prado through the end of the shutdown.

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