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Greenfield business says they’ll pay soldiers during shutdown



Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Monday, January 22, 2018

As Congress continued to struggle to come to a consensus on a continuing resolution to fund the government on Monday, one Greenfield company stood ready to do what was needed: Pay service men and women protecting the country.

American Steel and Precast Fabricators made a resolution to fill the gap left by the government shutdown for up to five active military members on Tuesday. Josh Cilley, the company’s president, was keeping an eye on Congress’ progress on Tuesday, hoping that his offer wouldn’t be needed, but willing to stand behind it if it was.

“Listening to the news, it hit me that I’m very blessed that I get to essentially jump into a plane and travel around doing what I need to do without a lot of cares, because we have people in the military that put themselves in harms way protecting our borders,” said Cilley. “Asking them to make what could be the ultimate sacrifice, and being away from their families, without paying them didn’t sit well with me, and I don’t think it sits well with most Americans.”

During the government shutdown, soldiers will continue to accrue pay, but will not receive the money until after Congress votes on the appropriations. 

American Steel, located in Greenfield, is a family company that has always supported the military, said Cilley. Once, an employee who was in the reserves was called for active military duty, and American Steel continued to pay him the difference between his military paycheck and the one he had been receiving from American Steel during his deployment.

Cilley said he decided to take that same spirit and extend it to other service members during the shutdown. He reached out to a retired Army friend, who is associated with Operation Enduring Warrior, a veteran organization that works with wounded veterans to motivate them through a physical, mental and emotional rehabilitation, asking for recommendations for active service members that might need support during the shutdown.

“If the government doesn’t want to do their job and pay the people that protect us, I’m willing to do what I can,” said Cilley, who said he realizes that helping out a handful of service members will only be a “ripple in the pond,” but hopes that it might spur others to give in similar ways.

“This isn’t about me or our company,” said Cilley. “This is more about awareness for others and reminding people that our military needs our support. This is not a partisan issue. We all want to know that our military members are being taken care of.”

On Monday, the same morning American Steel announced their proposal, Congress appeared to be closing in on an agreement that would fund the government at least through Feb. 8. The Senate had approved the measure on Monday night, but the House had yet to vote before press time on Monday. 

“Fingers crossed that it won’t be needed,” said Cilley. “But if for some reason [Congress doesn’t] pass [a continuing resolution], we’re absolutely ready to do it.” 

 

Ashley Saari can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 244.