I have now had the great pleasure of visiting four U.S. Coast Guard stations since The American Legion provided more than $1 million in non-repayable Temporary Financial Assistance (TFA) grants that assisted 3,120 children of 1,173 active-duty Coast Guard servicemembers who were affected by the government shutdown in January. My visits have been important to The American Legion to have some perspective on how Coast Guardsmen were affected by the government shutdown and their lack of pay.
In the middle of May, I visited U.S. Coast Guard Station Calumet Harbor in Chicago during my official visit to the Department of Illinois. During our tour there, appreciation for our support was heard. Machinery Technician First Class Chris Roggy said, “Thank you for all your help with the (TFA) grants for our junior members. It was a big help; it was awesome. It was a hard time for younger people who don’t really have savings accounts.”
Roggy is an Iraq veteran and a Paid Up for Life member of American Legion Post 748 in Anitoch, Ill. “I joined The American Legion for the camaraderie, the brotherhood and taking care of other servicemembers, making sure that they’re OK. If I ever need help a perfect example is when the TFA grant came out. I didn’t end up needing it, but a lot of our junior members did. If (the shutdown) would have went on for two more months I would have needed it as well. (The American Legion) is just a great organization.”
The station has 42 active duty on staff and 25 reservists that operate like a firehouse with two days on, two days off and sliding weekends. No one lives full time on base. There are many Coast Guardsmen who live off base and that was one of the things we had to take into consideration when we offered them Temporary Financial Assistance is the fact that a lot of them still had to pay their mortgage. They have financial responsibilities.
The American Legion was able to help the Coast Guard through TFA, which continues to provide grants to children of eligible veterans in financial need. These grants are funded through the Legion’s Veterans and Children Foundation. Donate to the foundation at www.legion.org/donate to ensure TFA grants continue to support our veterans and their families in need.