There were a lot of reports on television, in the newspapers and on Patch about the economic impact felt by local communities during the shutdown. Here in Charlestown the USS Constitution Museum lost an estimated $7,000 per day, the local businesses where our employees shop and dine took a hit, and we had to turn away forty school groups that had made reservations to visit USS Cassin Young, the Charlestown Navy Yard, and Bunker Hill.
Boston National Historical Park had to furlough approximately ninety employees, or nearly 90% of our workforce, during the shutdown, including the superintendent. Most of the employees who did work were from the park's law enforcement division and one employee was from the maintenance division. During this time, we were unable to cut the grass, rake the leaves, empty the garbage, winterize our buildings, provide tours, or do any of the other things that we do to preserve and protect these treasures.
As superintendent of Boston National Historical Park, the reports I received from my staff when I returned from furlough reaffirmed my belief that the Charlestown community is by far one of the best in Boston. The assistance we received from the community in helping us maintain our high standards of cleanliness at the Bunker Hill Monument was inspiring and deeply appreciated by me and the entire leadership team at the park. We want to say “thank you Charlestown for stepping up when we needed you.” Unfortunately, other parks located throughout the country did not have the same level of community support that we experienced. I can only attribute this to the long-standing and positive relationship the National Park Service and the Charlestown community have enjoyed since this park's establishment in 1974.
Throughout my career, I have always relied on life lessons or old adages handed down to me from my parents. The one that comes to mind speaks about character. My parents would say, "The character of a person is defined by their actions when no one is looking." And I am proud to say we saw what you did when no one was looking, Charlestown, and we want to say THANK YOU!
Cassius M. CashSuperintendentBoston National Historical Park