TYBEE ISLAND, GA (WTOC) - There are six United States Coast Guard units stationed in Chatham County. Tybee Island residents have raised more than $20,000 dollars of gift cards for unpaid UCSG workers.
“That’s a devoted group of people,” said Tybee Island Mayor Pro Tem, Barry Brown.
Tybee Island is an official U.S. Coast Guard community. With that, the city says it’s their responsibility to offer a helping hand to furloughed workers and their families.
“When we found out they weren’t being paid and they were still working, it was time for us to reach out and help them," Brown said. "They would be the first ones to help you if you were lost in the water.”
So far, residents have donated gift cards to stores like Walmart, Kroger, Publix and anywhere these furloughed USCG service members can buy gas and food.
“The Coast Guard will get reimbursed for the money they lost, but that still doesn’t make up for what they have to do right now,” Brown said.
As lawmakers try to end the government shutdown, the Tybee Island Police Department is stepping up to help out the members they serve with everyday.
“They help with swimmers that have gone missing that are out in the water, so we contact them. We are very close with them, and it’s sad to see they are not getting paid,” Sgt. Erica Coreno said. “Once we got the email about donations, everyone just came forward and gave what they could.”
Along with gift cards, Tybee residents have brought food and home-cooked meals to city hall. City officials said their donations have reached workers in Savannah and all the way to Brunswick.
“It’s always been a giving community and they take care of their own, but basically, it went way beyond my expectation.”
They’ll be collecting until Feb. 1st, then they’ll re-evaluate with the Coast Guard to see if they need more donations.