Local church donates grocery gift cards to airport staff after they work 35 days with no pay
Brentwood Baptist communications office
BRENTWOOD — After a 35-day shutdown, the government is finally open for business again. Yet, government workers are still struggling with the challenges facing them after receiving no pay since before Christmas.
In response to this issue, Brentwood Baptist Church, Brentwood, donated a $20 Publix gift card to each TSA agent working at Nashville’s International Airport. The growing airport serves over 30,000 people daily and requires a TSA staff of 375 workers, the largest team of government employees working within the airport.
During the shut down Brett Freemon, Brentwood Baptist missions mobilization minister, noticed the TSA workers in Nashville and elsewhere on several occasions during the limited government shutdown. “They have remained courteous and professional, even to the extent that they have demonstrated a positive attitude toward their jobs. They help insure our safety and security as we travel in our professional and personal roles,” he said.
“It will still be several days before a paycheck shows up in the hands of these workers and they have had to make sacrifices that we can help to address, Freemon observed Jan. 30. “Regardless of the end of this shutdown, it’s still an uncertain time with another shutdown very possible.”
On Jan. 28, Freemon along with a team of Brentwood Baptist staff members presented the grocery store gift cards to the TSA agents at the airport. “We want to be an active part of our community,” Freemon noted. “When our community hurts or is in crisis, we hurt too. We also want to love our neighbors as ourselves and this is one way to demonstrate that love. We are not just focused on our church members, we have a responsibility to make a difference where and when we can.”
Wesley Henderson, TSA assistant federal security director for the airport, greeted the team from Brentwood Baptist and expressed appreciation for their efforts. an “Our leadership is extremely proud of our team and how reliable and committed they are to serve the public with dedication and skill” Henderson said. “Our team is more reliant than I could have imagined, but their sense of pride has grown through this challenge because of the support and appreciation that they have received from the public during this time,” he added.
Many organizations from the community have rallied around the TSA workers over the past 35 days. The Nashville Food Project and other local non-profit organizations provided lunches for the TSA team during the shutdown. In addition to the donation of gift cards, Brentwood Baptist donated funds to and connected the TSA team with Rooftop Nashville, an organization that provides emergency rental assistance to Davidson County residents.
Smaller actions can also make a big impact to support and uplift the dedicated men and women working as TSA agents. Henderson mentioned, “If there is one thing that I can say that makes the biggest difference for our team at TSA is for the public to extend a smile and a ‘thank you.’ Those simple gestures are ways that everyone can give, and it makes a big impact on the lives of our teammates,” he said. B&R