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— Calvin Luther Martin, PhD

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I got paid yesterday. The Border Patrol agent wearing the above vest did not.  Neither did this one, below.
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I might be indifferent to this if I lived in a state without an international border. But I don’t. NYS has a notoriously porous border with Québec, Ontario, and the St. Regis Mohawk reservation.

Allow me to be more graphic.  This is my street: Clay Street, Malone.
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Ladies and gentlemen, this isn’t rocket science. When the United States Border Patrol and Border Protection are obliged to continue working during the federal shutdown to protect my street from hypodermic needles — you’d better believe I’m going to get involved. And you should, too.

These men and women are not protecting an abstraction named “America”; they are protecting Malone Châteaugay Burke Constable Ellenburg Plattsburgh Westville Massena Ogdensburg Potsdam Canton Saranac Lake Lake Placid, and on and on.  All the communities we call the North Country.
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You and I have a moral obligation to assist these federal officers to make certain they can pay their bills.  We can’t simply shrug and blame Donald Trump or Nancy Pelosi.

Last Friday I checked with several banks and credit unions in Malone to see if any were extending zero or low interest credit to federal employees working without pay. Only one financial institution is doing so: the North Franklin Federal Credit Union (NFFCU) at 494 E. Main St., Malone.

I spoke to a loan officer at Community Bank (Malone) and another at NBT Bank (Malone).  Neither bank was doing anything special for these people.  I called SeaComm Credit Union (Malone) and spoke to a loan officer.  SeaComm is offering a 9% personal loan or 2.99% secured loan to SeaComm members, only. I did not check with other Malone banks.

Click here to read SeaComm’s response to the crisis, reproduced below.
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As of this writing, only NFFCU is offering something humane and socially responsible to these people and their families.

The individual chiefly responsible for this decision is this man.

Darin Childs, CEO NFFCU

I met with Darin for an hour yesterday.  He was raised here.  His family goes back to the early 19th century in the North Country.  He’s a graduate of SUNY Potsdam.  His wife was also raised here.  He and his wife are raising two lovely children.  To Darin, assisting these federal officers was a no-brainer.

Here’s the good news.  The North Franklin Federal Credit Union is offering loans up to $5,000 at 1.5% interest under the following terms:

1. Applicants must be either current members of the credit union or must open an account and become a member. Opening an account consists, simply, of depositing $25 into one’s newly opened account.
2. Applicants must be federal employees who are not getting paid owing to the federal shutdown.
3. Applicants must either live, work, worship, or attend school in Franklin County.
4. Should the shutdown become even more protracted, Darin says the credit union will work with people to come up with a loan package meeting their needs.
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To Darin and the staff at NFFCU, I say, “God bless you!  You did something real!

P.S.  Here’s what’s happening elsewhere across America.  Click here.  I imagine this is a small fraction of the outpouring of help being extended to federal employees — CLM