Support needed for Coast Guard

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To the Editor:

For over 50 years, you have generously supported the Dukes County Deputy Sheriffs’ Association in our mission to protect and promote the best interests of its members and the citizens of Dukes County. In turn, we have supported our community through numerous public safety and service programs, events, and scholarships, as well as help to individuals in need.

Today we are asking that you to join us in support of our fellow public safety partners in the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, Menemsha.

As you may already be aware, on Dec. 22, 2018, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Coast Guard were victims of a partial government shutdown. Though this is expected to be a temporary situation, officers of the U.S. Coast Guard will not receive compensation during this lapse in appropriations. It was recently reported that the administration, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Coast Guard have identified a way to pay our military workforce through Dec. 31, 2018. However, this is a “one-time action” which only applies to certain individuals, and does not guarantee compensation in January 2019.

Despite being one of the smaller military branches, the U.S. Coast Guard Menemsha is crucial to our safety, security, and way of life on the Island. They not only keep our waters safe but are called upon to provide emergency rescues and searches in times of need. Recent articles in The MV Times and the Vineyard Gazette show the need for our U.S. Coast Guard Menemsha Station as they were called upon in the search for two missing fishermen from a vessel that sank off Block Island.

As you can imagine, the uncertainty of the next paycheck may result in the U.S. Coast Guard Menemsha officers having difficulty focusing on their critical responsibilities, meeting their financial obligations, and supporting their own families. In these moments, we are reminded that our Island community depends on one another as a way of life.

Please join us as we support our fellow public safety partners of the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, Menemsha. Checks can be sent to the Coast Guard Spouses’ Association of Menemsha, 20 Edy’s Island Way, Chilmark, MA 02535.

Sterling Bishop, president
Dukes County Deputy Sheriffs’ Association