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Shutdown Leaves Local War Vet Struggling To Pay The Bills

Jake Coan (left) and his sister-in-law Tracie Niemeyer after the transplant surgery in February. (Family photo)

Jake Coan (left) and his sister-in-law Tracie Niemeyer after the transplant surgery in February. (Family photo)

MCLENNAN COUNTY (October 16, 2013)—Jake Coan, an Army combat veteran who survived two wounds from gunfire and nearly a dozen homemade bomb explosions is now on furlough from his federal job in Waco and fighting to keep his family afloat.

“I used to say in Afghanistan ‘I wonder how many tours I have to do to get promoted’, now I say, ‘How many tours did I have to do to get paid,’” he said Wednesday, as U.S. Senate leaders announced another deal to end the partial shutdown and avert a government default.

For the first time since the shutdown was ordered, Coan has missed a paycheck and says if that happens again, his family will have to take what he called “drastic measures” to pay the bills.

Coan, who lives just outside of West, is also on partial disability and has been told that unless the budget impasse ends, his Nov. 1 disability check may not arrive.

He admits he doesn’t understand why Democrats and Republicans haven’t been able to come up with a bipartisan solution to the problem.

“We are all Americans and they should be able to work this out,” he said.

The shutdown is the latest in a series of challenges Coan has faced this year.

In February, he served as a donor in a complex series transplants as a result of which his sister-in-law received a life-saving kidney.

Then in April he lost several close friends in the deadly fertilizer plant explosion in West.

But he remains optimistic.

“We'll get paid, it'll get fixed, somehow,” he said.

“And if not, we'll be okay; God will take care of us."


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