Coast Guard Members Impacted by Shutdown

The Coast Guard has 134 active duty, reserve and civilian members in the Chicago area

The men and women who provide national security and perform water rescues on Lake Michigan just missed their first pay period of the partial government shutdown.

Julie Jonsson of Winfield, Indiana, is married to a Coast Guard member who is stationed along Lake Michigan. She said her husband still goes to work and “gives it all” despite not being paid. 

According to Jonsson, the couple recently took out a bank loan to help pay some bills, in addition to Jonsson’s husband now driving for Uber to help make ends meet at home.

“If this goes on for months, I'm going to be on the hook for the loan I took and my mortgage and I don't want to lose everything,” she said. “I'm not willing to sacrifice our livelihood. I'm not willing to tell my kids that they can't play soccer. I didn't sign up for that.”

The Coast Guard has 134 active duty, reserve and civilian members in the Chicago area.

A spokesperson said the men and women of the Coast Guard continue to perform their duties and are committed to supporting the mission during the government shutdown. Those operations include search and rescue operations, responding to threats by water, conducting law enforcement and security patrols, and ice breaking on the Great Lakes.

However, the spokesperson said the Coast Guard has stopped or curtailed mission activities such as boarding’s or safety checks of recreational boats, issuing merchant documentation and licensing, and routine maintenance to navigation aids, such as buoy markers.

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