Who Takes Care of Coast Guardsmen After Michael?

Century-old Charity Devoted to Helping Those Who Help

 Arlington, VA—October 15, 2018Michael still is affecting Coast Guard first responders as they and their families return home for the first time.  Mold, ants, snakes, rotten food, and downed trees are but some of the hazards. Over 30 active duty families have yet to return, and some are expected to have significant damage.

Since Hurricane Michael’s landfall, Coast Guard Mutual Assistance (CGMA) has helped members of the Coast Guard and their families as they braced for the storm. As the storm approached, Mutual Assistance initially funded evacuations and hotel costs, now it is supporting military members and their families as they return to damaged or uninhabitable homes.

“Our mission is to care for our own,” said Cari Thomas, Rear Admiral, U.S. Coast Guard (retired), Chief Executive Officer at Coast Guard Mutual Assistance (CGMA). “It is hard when the storm impacts you, your family, and your home.  I have lived through many storms and know first-hand how much life at home impacts your life at work.  That is why we help those who help the public.”

Helping the Military and their Families.

Since the Panhandle of Florida is a home to many military retirees, we are expecting the amount of need to grow, and want anyone who needs help to apply.  “The stories break my heart,” said Sean Fennell, a retired Coast Guard Chief Warrant Officer and Mutual Assistance Director of Administration. “Coast Guardsmen sacrifice so much, and we are helping them rebuild their homes and their lives.”

Founded in 1924, CGMA supports Coast Guardsmen and their families with financial assistance.   During 2017, $2.5 million was provided in relief from Harvey, Irma, and Maria, nearly half in direct grants.  “You have lifted a huge burden from my family’s and my back. I can’t show enough gratitude to convey my emotions and appreciation. Thank y’all again,” said Petty Officer Morales, a Hurricane Maria survivor.  Al Roker said, “CGMA makes the lives of Coast Guard families better,” as the spokesman for Coast Guard Mutual Assistance in 2012.

Coast Guard Mutual Assistance is one of four Military Aid Societies that collectively helps 1.5 million service members and their families.  Congressionally sanctioned, the others include the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society, Air Force Aid Society and Army Emergency Relief. Each of the Military Aid Societies are responding to the needs of military personnel coping with the effects of the storm. The charity provides grants and no-interest loans for needs such as disaster relief, education, and family support.  If anyone from the Coast Guard, active duty, reserve, civilian, Auxiliarist or retiree needs help, they can call toll free: (800) 881-2462 or email: hurricane@cgmahq.org.