Recognizing the significant impact of the government shutdown on Kodiak Island’s Coast Guard servicemembers, Alaska Native Corporations with ties to the island collectively donated $28,500 to help Coast Guard families in need. More than 1,000 enlisted Coast Guard servicemembers on Kodiak Island were working without pay due to the shutdown.
Six corporations donated: Koniag, Afognak Native Corporation, Ouzinkie and Katmai Corporation, Old Harbor Native Corporation, Natives of Kodiak, and Akhiok-Kaguyak, Inc. The donations were delivered to the Coast Guard Enlisted Association (CGEA) and help provide food, utility assistance, and other vital services and supplies to those in need.
“The generosity shown by these organizations is so encouraging,” said Aimee Williams, Director of Discover Kodiak and a Coast Guard veteran, “The effects the shutdown has had on our community cannot be understated. Our Coast Guard families have been struggling, and these donations have gone a long way to help them.”
The drive began when Stacey Simmons, Senior Director of Shareholder Services at Koniag, recognized the drastic toll that the government shutdown has caused to the community’s Coast Guard servicemembers and their families. She brought the issue to Koniag’s leadership, who pledged to donate $2,500 to the Coast Guard Enlisted Association (CGEA) and issued a challenge to the village corporation from Kodiak.
“Our Alutiiq people have been on Kodiak Island for thousands of years and we take care of our guests. It is a cultural value to take care of people in times of need. Our Coast Guard families are no different from our own. They are our neighbors, friends and heroes. Our region understands the importance of the Coast Guard and the safety they bring to our island. We did what we could because it was the right thing to do,” said Simmons.
“While a temporary three-week government opening has been announced, it is unclear whether the government will remain open beyond the three-week period. Regardless of when they get paid, it will likely take weeks or months for families to get back on their feet. The CGEA will continue to provide support until these families are back on their feet and we are proud our corporations are able to be a part of their support” Shauna Hegna President.