Yacht Club Feeds Coast Guard Members During Shutdown

Sally Robinson    Members of the U.S. Coast Guard, whose paychecks have been put on hold during the federal government shutdown received a free lunch courtesy of the Ballena Bay Yacht Club and its members.

Alameda’s Ballena Bay Yacht Club (BBYC) held an appreciation event Jan. 22 for more than 250 local U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) members who served without pay due to the government shutdown. An all-volunteer, non-profit organization, BBYC expected 250 to 300 active-duty members and USCG retirees, furloughed contractors and their families to attend. 

The Coast Guard was serving without pay due to the partial government shutdown. Club members served a free lunch. Local businesses offered other services as well. Members of the public were invited to bring food donations that were contributed to Coast Guard families.
Sponsors included: Ballena Isle Marina, Grocery Outlet, Club Nautique, Pier 29 Restaurant, Costco of El Cerrito, Firehouse Subs, Safeway and BBYC members. 

On Jan. 15, some 42,000 active-duty USCG members missed their scheduled paychecks — “the first time in our nation’s history that service members in a U.S. Armed Force have not been paid during a lapse in government appropriations,” said Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Karl Schultz. 

The government shutdown ended Jan. 25. Service members who protect the nation’s maritime borders, interdict smuggling, human trafficking and other crime, ensure boating safety and conduct emergency rescue operations around the clock were among those impacted by the shutdown impasse. They are required to serve regardless of pay as set forth by U.S. law. 

“The men and women of the Coast Guard put their lives on the line for us every day,” said BBYC commodore Cindy Wagner. “These people are vital members of our community. They have bills to pay, groceries to buy and mortgages and rents that many now cannot afford. They deserve better than this. We are thankful for their tireless work in the Bay Area and want to do everything we can for them during this challenging time.” 

As a future shutdown is threatened, BBYC will continue collecting non-perishable items for Coast Guard families. Submit online donations at www.coastguardfoundation.org. All support is welcome and can be funneled through the Chief Petty Officer Association Golden Gate President, Rick Paauwe, at 437-6624 or Richard.a.Paauwe@uscg.mil for any type of donations.

BBYC is located at Ballena Isle Marina, 1150 Ballena Blvd. It was founded in 1968. Visit www.bbyc.org for more information.