From Tom Dobbins
To the Membership, Commodore and Members of the Bridge
The USCG is a branch of the armed forces, but during peacetime, they are under the Department of Homeland Security not the Department of Defense, so during this unfortunate government shut down, the young men and women serving, are forced to work without pay. Most junior members serving in our armed forces live paycheck to paycheck; it is a financial struggle for these folks even during normal times when they are being paid. Because military personnel are transferred every 3-4 years, it is very difficult for the spouses of the service members to have a successful career, so their primary income comes from the service member. These Coast Guard men and women signed on the dotted line and committed themselves to serve our country, but only due to not being part of the Department of Defense, they are faced with this burden. It does not matter where we stand on the politics with the government shutdown, they deserve our help. These are the people who maintain the aids to navigation that we all heavily rely on, secure our ports and will come to our recuse no matter the weather.
I am a member of the Portland Propeller Club, an international organization that promotes deep-water shipping. I am also Chair of the Portland Harbor Commission. Several of the major marine terminals, the Propeller Club and many of its members have agreed to make Gift Card donations. We are reaching out to our other port partners to try and raise additional cards for food to help our local Coasties. We are working through the USCG Chief Petty Officer's Association to receive and distribute donations. The CPOA is a privately run association run by active duty and retired Chief Petty Officers. Where the association is not part of the CG, they can accept donations from the private sector without USCG legal issues. Working with the CPOA rather than the CG Mutual Assistance, they could ensure all contributions would stay here within the Sector Northern New England. The CPOA will accept any type of donation, but they prefer gift cards to supermarkets in the range of $25-$30, as it is easier to distribute to the folks needing help. If you make a cash or gift card donation please include your name and mailing address, as the CPOA would like to send a thank you note. The CPOA is a 501 non-profit association, making donations tax deductible.
I hope you as an organization will donate directly to the COPA and you will reach out to our membership to donate as well
Our points of contact for donations are Master Chief Keith Naker or Chief Mikel Zachmann. Donations may be dropped off at the USCG base or mailed to Sector NNE Chief Petty Officers Association, c/o YNC Mikel Zachmann, 259 Front Street, South Portland, ME 04106-2028. Checks should be made out Sector NNE Chief Petty Officers Association. Donations can be made online to the local CPOA by clicking the “shop now” button or going to the event page on https://www.facebook.com/nnecpoa/. You can contact the CPOA by Email at firstname.lastname@example.org