Community unites to aid Coast Guard

George Vrepek, of the Point Pleasant Elks Lodge, presents donated gift cards to Chief Petty Officer George Ramirez of the Manasquan/Shark River Inlet Coast Guard station.[PHOTO BY MARK R. SULLIVAN]

POINT PLEASANT BEACH — The halls of Point Pleasant Elks Lodge 1698 overflowed with boxes of donated groceries this week, several more were stuffed with thousands of dollars in gift cards, when a U.S. Coast Guard official arrived at the post Wednesday.

“The community outreach has been amazing,” said Chief Petty Officer George Ramirez, of the Jersey Shore Chief Petty Officers Association, about the outpouring of community support for the personnel at the Manasquan/Shark River Inlet station who are impacted by the federal government shutdown.

“They have been supporting us left and right, Elks, VFW’s, American Legion, everybody has just been astronomical. The members truly appreciate it. It is going to families in need in the area and we couldn’t be more appreciative of it. Right now the community support is really what is driving everybody.”

Upwards of $13,000 in donations and gift cards, as well as more than 2,400 pounds of food have been donated by the local community to support U.S. Coast Guard personnel and their families affected by the partial federal government shutdown.  

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