On Monday morning, thousands of federal employees returned to work after the longest government shutdown in United States history. For local members of the U.S. Coast Guard, that meant finally getting a paycheck.
Members of the Coast Guard in South Texas tell KRIS 6 they were expecting their first paycheck later in the week, but when they got into work on Tuesday morning, to their surprise, they got paid.
“The vibe over at work was much different this morning than it was two weeks ago,” said John D. Rice, the Chief Warrant Officer Vice President of the South Texas Chief Petty Officer Association.
Rice says Coast Guard members went nearly three weeks without a paycheck. In his 28 years, Rice says he’s never gone this long without pay. Because of that, he and other service members faced hardships making ends meet.
“It has been challenging, mostly for our younger folks that just joined,” he said.
Many members relied on food, gas and gift card donations given to them by the community.
“The outpouring of support from the locals has just been overwhelming,” Rice said.
However, talk of the government shutdown isn’t over just yet. If an agreement is not made in Congress, there could be another shutdown again in just under three weeks.
Rice says if a shutdown were to happen again, the Coast Guard would be better prepared.
“I don’t think it will be as much a drag on our folks, knowing it will be taken care of,” Rice said.
Members of the Coast Guard tell KRIS 6 they expect to get another paycheck later this week.