North Pacific Seafood Industry Launches Assistance Program for US Coast Guard

SEAFOODNEWS.COM [SeafoodNews], January 24, 2019 – 

By Peggy Parker – 

Yesterday several North Pacific trade associations posted announcements that they were joining an initiative started by Chris Woodley, retired USCG Captain and currently the exective director of the Groundfish Forum.

Woodley’s idea is to respond to the financial crises many Coast Guard families find themselves in, much as the USCG has provided aid to vessels and seaman year in and year out. The groups are banding together, each raising $7,500 – $10,000 in tax-deductible contributions to help Alaska’s USCG families in need. The ‘rescue’ mission provides funds that can be legally accessed immediately, until the government reopens and service members start receiving paychecks again.

Woodley wants to raise $65,000 in the next week. That amount would provide a $1500 loan to 50 Coast Guard families in Alaska.

In the first day of the call for help, $30,000 was raised using the fund’s webpage.

Woodley’s letter launching the initiative is reprinted below:

“This week many Coast Guard members and families in Alaska are facing hard times – thousands of active duty, reservists, and Coast Guard civilians have not been paid since December 31st.

“Yet the men and women of the Coast Guard are still working hard every day – protecting our fishermen and our fisheries in Alaska. They are still out in the Bering Sea standing the watch on the bridge of a cutter; they are carefully maintaining a H-60 helicopter in the hanger at Air Station Sitka so that it will be ready to respond to “the call” at a moment’s notice; they are conducting safety exams on our boats in Dutch Harbor, and they are listening intently to the radios at Comm Station Kodiak, ears straining through the static to detect the words “Mayday Mayday Mayday” from a fishing boat in peril.

“Coast Guard men and women have always been heroes for our industry, but we have to ask ourselves which unit, which bosun mate, which rescue swimmer will be our hero, our savior in the weeks to come?  We know it will happen, we know we will need their help in some way, shape or form.

“The Coast Guard is doing their best for us, but they are worried. Worried because they haven’t been paid since December 31st and now the rent is coming due, the truck needs to be repaired, the vet bill for the dog was really high, and now they are getting low on groceries. Because of all this, many Coast Guard members and families in Alaska need a hero of their own.

“I am asking you to be hero and help a Coast Guard member make ends meet during the government shutdown by contributing to Coast Guard Mutual Assistance (CGMA).

“The CGMA is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing zero interest loans to Coast Guard members and families in times of distress. A zero interest loan to a Coast Guard family can make a world of difference during these tough times and give them the help that they need. The CGMA program needs our donations to keep providing these loan services to the Coast Guard and because the CGMA is a non-profit 501(c)(3) your donation is tax deductible. (Please note any contribution made is a donation to CGMA and won’t be returned to the donor.)

“Making a donation is easy! Just cut and paste the link below into your browser and click Donate!  Contributions can be made via credit card from businesses and individuals. All donations to my fundraising page will be directed to Coast Guard personnel in the 17th District (Alaska) and the monies raised will be distributed to Coast Guard families in need across the State.

Chris Woodley’s Fundraiser

“As a former Coast Guardsman stationed in Alaska, I cannot overstate how much our assistance can mean to a Coast Guard family in need.  They have always been there for us and I know we can be there for them.”