DESTIN — Coast Guardsmen from Station Destin and their families got a free lunch Friday at Dewey's on the Bay, as local businesses and individuals continued to support local Coast Guard personnel during the federal government shutdown.

The lunch came just hours before President Donald Trump announced his support for a short-term spending bill that would reopen the government for three weeks. Trump's hope is that bipartisan congressional negotiations during that time will include funding for a U.S.-Mexico border wall in the budget for the Department of Homeland Security.

Friday's lunch was the brainchild of Neill Finkel, a Destin charter boat captain who understands the vital role the Coast Guard plays in keeping local waters safe even though, he admitted, boat operators sometimes chafe at the regulatory role the Coast Guard plays.

"It's the people you love to hate," Finkel smiled, leaving no doubt about his respect for the Coast Guard.

"I got a wild hair and I called Dewey," Finkel said of how Friday's lunch came together in just a few days. With some help from Dewey Destin and the Destin family, Finkel covered the cost of Friday's lunches.

Destin, whose father served in the Coast Guard in World War II and who as a commercial fisherman was rescued more than once, was happy to help and stands ready to continue, if needed.

"Maybe we'll do it again," Destin said.

Coast Guard personnel around the country missed their Jan. 15 paychecks.

Residents and businesses have stepped in to help fill the financial gap for Station Destin. As plans for Friday's lunch were coming together, Finkel made some calls to local businesses and individuals — and got calls from others — so that Friday's lunch was accompanied by an array of gift cards for other restaurants, grocery stores and businesses.

"There was no hesitation" when he called, Finkel said. "The first thing out of their mouth was 'How much do you want?' "

The gift cards were presented to the Coast Guardsmen as they walked into Dewey's to smiles of appreciation and rounds of "thank yous." Among the businesses and groups funding the gift cards were Galati Yacht Sales, Shoreline Church, Mary's Kitchen, the Crispy Warriors veterans group, Crackings restaurant and local financial planner Tim Krueger.

Even as lunch was being served, donations continued to come in. Sam Devereaux, a Coast Guard veteran from Holt, drove to Dewey's with 25 Walmart gift cards.

"I figured they could get what they needed," Devereaux noted modestly.

"The community has been outstanding," said Sean Sulski, the officer in charge at Station Destin. "The time and effort has been phenomenal."

Sulski said people had been dropping off small-denomination gift cards, groceries, household supplies and personal items at the station for some time.

Of the 31 active-duty Coast Guardsmen at Station Destin, Sulski reckons about two dozen are feeling the effects of missing a paycheck.

"There are a few of us that are doing OK," he said. But among his younger personnel, he said many are still learning how to balance housing payments, car payments, insurance bills, cellphone bills and other financial responsibilities.

"Every little bit helps," Sulski said. "These are young guys. All those little things add up to big things."

As far as its mission, Sulski said Station Destin's mission had been "suffering impacts." But he added that it didn't threatened the station's core mission of responding to emergencies on the water.

"What's important is that we maintain a full boat crew," Sulski said.

If the need resumes, Krueger is convinced the community will continue to rally behind the Coast Guard.

"This is a community that does not quit," he said.