Avon residents, and their neighbors from surrounding communities answered the call to support local Coast Guardsmen who have been without pay and allowances since the partial Federal Government shutdown began on Dec. 22.
The Jersey Shore Chapter of the Chief Petty Officers Association (CPOA) contacted Avon Commissioner Frank Gorman on Jan. 17, and asked for assistance in collecting food donations for cash strapped Coast Guard members stationed in Avon and potentially their shipmates stationed elsewhere along the Jersey Shore (There are four Coast Guard members staffed at Station Shark River round the clock, seven days a week).
Gorman contacted Borough Administrator Kerry McGuigan, Police Chief Mike Haar, Mayor John Magrini, and Commissioner Bob Mahon.
All agreed to proceed, and mobilized to get the word out to the public that the Boro Office would receive donations on January 17 and 18, and Avon Police would accept donations Sat., Jan. 19.
Utilizing social media, and a programmable digital sign at Sylvania Avenue and Main Street word spread rapidly.
“The generosity of town residents and Avon’s neighbors has been overwhelming,” Gorman said.
By 4 p.m. Saturday, two full pick-up truck loads, and a full SUV, along with over $4,200 in gift cards, were delivered to the Chief Petty Officers Association representatives, Gorman said.
This is especially helpful, as the Coast Guard members stationed in Avon are among the most junior members, who earn very little income. A junior enlisted member with less than two years service earns less than $23,200 a year, which is below the poverty level for a family of four.
While locality indexed allowances for housing and subsistence provide significant supplemental income, many CG members struggle financially, and have been greatly impacted by the lapse in appropriations.
The average enlisted member supports two dependents, with at least one being a child.
As the partial government shutdown continues, Avon will continue to receive donations to pass on to the CPOA. Avon borough hall is located at 301 Main St Avon.
Office hours are from 8:30 -4:30.
The CPOA of the Coast Guard is a fraternal organization of Coast Guard senior enlisted members and a recognized 501C(3) non-profit organization.