KODIAK, Alaska (KTUU) — There are about 6,000 people living in the city of Kodiak, but on Friday, nearly 20 percent of its residents will not be receiving a paycheck because technically the government doesn’t consider them vital to national security.
According to Coast Guard officials, there are more than 1,100 active duty Coast Guard members living in and around the city of Kodiak.
Because the Coast Guard falls under the Department of Homeland Security rather than the Department of Defense, it's the only branch of the military going without pay during the shutdown.
As of Friday night, the partial government shutdown entered its 22nd day — now the longest government shutdown in U.S. history — and with many Kodiak residents feeling like there’s no end in sight, the community has taken it upon itself to help in any way possible.
“We are watching a lot of our family and friends struggle and it’s not just the active duty people, it’s all the civilians working for the Coast Guard as well as the contractors that work in the base,” said Aimee Williams, a Coast Guard spouse. “So you can’t help but know a lot of people here. It’s a small community, we’re all friends and so you watch a whole bunch of people struggle and that’s tough.”
As a result of the shutdown, many businesses in Kodiak have seen a dramatic drop in sales, with King’s Diner owner Eleanor King saying she’s lost about $500 each day this week.
Despite the lost business, King and many other businesses in Kodiak are offering a discount to those affected by the shutdown. Some businesses are even accepting IOU’s, while the local museum is offering free admission, and the Kodiak Baptist Mission has prepared to provide food for those in need.
KTUU reached out to the Coast Guard regarding the shutdowns impact on its active members in Kodiak. Officials said they have been instructed by USCG headquarters not to comment.