PHARR, Texas – At least two Texas National Guard troops are in need of financial assistance after being sent to the Texas-Mexico border in response to a surge of children pouring into the U.S. illegally, officials said Friday.
The National Guard had initially identified 50 soldiers who might need financial help, said spokeswoman Lt. Col. Joanne MacGregor. The Guard members are part of the up to 1,000 troops ordered to the border in July by Texas Republican Gov. Rick Perry.
After the 50 soldiers were interviewed, only two submitted requests for help, which the Guard says comes from a private organization. The others could be helped if needed, officials said.
"Given the large influx of service members into the area over the past week, our Family Assistance Coordinator in the Rio Grande Valley was being extremely proactive in identifying possible assistance options for additional service members," MacGregor said.
Family assistance coordinators help military members across Texas, regardless of deployment or duty status, she said.
The financial hardships troops might have experienced could be due to the pay schedule, as two or three weeks might pass before Guard members get their first paycheck, MacGregor said.
Officials with the Food Bank of the Rio Grande Valley in Pharr had said they were contacted about helping the Guard members. MacGregor said she is not aware that any Guard member who has received help from that food bank.
"Gov. Perry is confident the Guard stands ready to assist any soldier who may need it, regardless of deployment or duty status so they can meet the needs of their family, or the mission they are performing," said Rich Parsons, a Perry spokesman.