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Coast Guard donations near first goal; more funds can be raised

Staff report

A community effort launched days ago by the Port Arthur International Seafarers’ Center and the Greater Port Arthur Chamber of Commerce is closing in on its initial donation goal to help Coast Guard members who are working without paychecks — financial casualties of the political standoff in Washington, D.C., that has led to the continuing, partial shutdown of the federal government.

Doreen Badeaux, immediate past president of the PAISC board, said Saturday that local efforts  raised $21,420 by Friday afternoon. The initial goal was to raise $22,000, about $100 per the 218 Coast Guard members serving in and around Port Arthur.

That total includes a donation challenge of $2,200 from Griffith Moseley Johnson and Associates, which challenged other local companies to match that donation. At least one additional company has matched the challenge and sent its money.

Badeaux said in an email Saturday that funds and donations beyond that $22,000 total can be generated by working through the Coast Guard Foundation.

The PAISC has been channeling money through that foundation by asking checks to support the local Coast Guard members be written to the Seafarers’ Center, a 501c3 organization, with the words, “Coast Guard Foundation” written in the memo line.

Donations for the Coast Guard may be sent or taken to the Seafarers’ Center at 401 Houston Ave., Port Arthur.

Badeaux said by working through the foundation, the community is not limited to raising $22,000 but can do more to help the local Coast Guard and its family members.

“If we raise more than that, it is even better,” she said.

Because of the government shutdown, the Coast Guard, which operates under the Homeland Security Department, was subject to pay restrictions that have affected other government employees. They were recently notified that their mid-month paychecks, expected Jan. 15, would be delayed because of the shutdown.