Retired USCG member asks Wilmington city leaders to support military branch during shutdown

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) —  For more than a month now the members of the United State Coast Guard have had to worry when they will get their next paycheck. So far they’ve missed a couple of checks.

The USCG Cutter Diligence sits on the banks of a Coast Guard City. One man wants Wilmington city leaders to do more about service members feeling the impacts of the shutdown.

“Most of the people in the Coast Guard I would say by the majority live paycheck to paycheck,”said Scott Paradis.

Paradis would know, he spent nearly 30 years in the Coast Guard. Although he lives in New Orleans, his journey began right here in Wilmington. After he graduated from UNCW, he joined the USCG. Paradis is in town seeing family, but it’s what he’s not seeing that is bothering him.

“Even if there is not a need. I think the city should reach out to find out if there is,” said Paradis after a weeklong of seeing no news about how the shutdown is impacting the military branch.

Fortunately, in many ways the Cape Fear community is stepping up. From breweries and restaurants, to golf clubs and congregations, they have all reached out to monetarily help USCG members or other federal workers impacted.

Paradis, however, wants to see a message of support from Wilmington city leaders.
For more than 15 years Wilmington has been a designated Coast Guard City.

“This is a uniformed military service that is doing their damnedest to protect us from harm, to protect us from terrorism and they’re doing it without pay,” said Paradis.

The designation means cities like Wilmington have pledged to stand up for Coast Guard members, welcome them, and support their welfare. Paradis says he just hasn’t seen it.

“Do you need help right now? Do you need us to help you,” said Paradis laying out questions he hopes the city is sending to USCG officers. “We’re just not getting it right now, we’re just not getting it.”

So what will or can Mayor Bill Saffo and the city do to step up for the Coast Guard?

“What I promise to do is to contact our elected officials in Washington and let them know but also let the leadership know and the President know that this is important to our communities,” said Mayor Saffo laying the blame on Congressional leaders.

These men and women answered the call continuing to serve in the most taxing time possibly in the military branches history. Hopefully Washington will answer the call by Wilmington to get these people paid.

“To see these people not being paid bothers me tremendously and this is not right,” said Saffo.

Mayor Saffo says he has not heard any request for aid formally from the local Coast Guard at this time.

Categories: Local, New Hanover

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