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Ellen, John Calipari trying to help federal workers in Lexington who are not getting paid during shutdown

Ellen Calipari. (Vicky Graff Photo)


It figured to be just another call from a Kentucky fan to coach John Calipari’s weekly radio show Wednesday night but it turned into much more.

A caller said thanks to Calipari and his wife, Ellen, for their donation to help federal employees in Lexington who have not been getting a paycheck because of the government shutdown.

The Kentucky coach didn’t announce what he was doing. Instead, the caller — and other workers — got an email telling them of Calipari’s offer to help them financially. The caller works at a federal prison (I have a friend working there who has not been paid since Dec. 21).

The Calipari Foundation is working with REACH Inc. and Kroger to provide financial support to the federal workers.

“We’re going to try to touch all 400 of them,” Calipari said. “These people that are being hurt. They’re from Lexington. They’re our friends, they’re our neighbors. Part of it was you just want them to know that you care or you understand or you feel.”

The coach said him and his wife grew up “payday to payday” and knew the pain the workers were feeling.

“You’re not talking $200,000 jobs, you’re talking federal employees. The postal and the military, they’re still being paid, but how about who’s being furloughed. There’s 400, almost 500 people who aren’t being paid (in Lexington).”

He said Kroger would be able to help with pharmacy needs, gasoline or food but he also knows other workers may simply need cash.

Federal workers in Lexington who are not being paid can contact REACH at 859-455-8057.

His hope is that workers being helped will do what his mother taught him — pay it forward.

“Take what we gave you to hold you over and give it to somebody else. Hopefully that helps them,” Calipari said.


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  1. Good for the Calipari’s, very generous and noble. That said, this shut down can be fixed in a heart beat. All that has to happen is for a certain political party to agree too support our President, and fund the construction of the wall too protect our nation’s southern border. Like they are on record of supporting just a few years ago. Why? In order to protect Americans from potential harm that could come to us from people who want to come here illegally. Let’s add that piece right here.

    1. I agree with Larry, 110% !!!
      My wife and I worked and lived on a small ranch in southern New Mexico before we retired in Florida six years ago. Everyone who opposes a border wall should spend at least a month down there and after they see first-hand what is going on, I suspect most of them would support our President’s efforts regarding border security. Border patrol apprehended literally hundreds of illegal immigrants on our property during the 12 years we lived there. Our property was vandalized on numerous occasions and there were two attempted break-ins at our home. Our property was adjacent to the Mexican border east of Columbus, NM.

  2. LP is right.
    The spin is that only one side is unwilling to negotiate. Negotiations take compromise from all parties.
    The Dems never get accused of the shut down. They never get accused of not willing to compromise.

  3. The simple truth is if all the Republicans in congress truly wanted a wall they would have funded it. They controlled the House, the Senate and the White House for 2 yrs. and didn’t get it done. They didn’t need Democrats to pass their tax cut and they didn’t need them to fund the wall. Simple fact. Not spin.

  4. You are right, hey share some blame yes, but they needed 60 votes in the Senate on budget issues, as I recall, like funding the border wall. The House had the votes. They simply didn’t have the votes without some Democrat support in the Senate. The Nuclear option was not in play. The President even offered a proposal in 2018 that asked for $25 billion to build the wall in exchange for amnesty for approx 1.8 million “dreamers.” The Democrats wouldn’t even agree to that.

    You must agree that we need the “wall” and other border protection enhancements now, and that costs money. People are daily crossing our southern border illegally, and another “caravan” is forming and on the move toward the US right now. US officials no nothing about any of them. Who they are or what their real intentions are. The Democrats won’t even meet with the President now to work out a deal or offer a proposal. That is not spin my friend. Like I said, this govt. “shut down” could end quickly if both sides would act like responsible elected leaders and do their duty to protect the American people.

    1. More simple truth. This is a Democracy not a Dictatorship. Just fall in line and do as I say. Really. If you don’t have the VOTES you don’t have the VOTES. That is why we have something called checks and balances in America. Punishing people who can’t make this decision is just wrong. This can be just as easily ended by taking the wall off the table and paying those who have earned it. The coin has two sides. It is a Democracy.

  5. The Democrats gave Obama 25 million dollars for a border wall and he didn’t spend it on that. If Trump was a Democrat, the Democrats would vote for it, the Republicans would oppose it. Each party is committed to making the other look bad and nothing good gets done. Enough! Do away with political parties, set term limits, do away with government pensions and perks, do away with lobbyists, PACs, and special interests. Take away power and privilege and return to service to the public, but then nobody would want the job.

  6. AMEN !

    1. Well UKFMLY when a bunch of terrorists and and MS 13 gang members wind up in you town and neighborhood some day soon you might see it a little different. It could happen. More illegals are in Mexico this morning headed our way. The Dems are only interested in power. Just a few years ago they were for the wall. Explain that to me. They are like a reeds blowing in the wind.

      1. I am more worried about regular Americans with ar-15’s than MS 13. We should spent 5 billion dollars trying to solves a problem we face today right now than a supposed one in the future. And by the way my nephew is a Border Patrol Agent in Ari. The funny thing is there is no mention of the fact this is still a Democracy not a Dictatorship. We don’t force people to vote the way we want. If he doesn’t have the votes in congress hurting people is not the answer. I also have a nephew who is in the Coast Guard, a sister and a brother who are federal employees as well as a dozen or more cousins. Sounds to me like Democracy only carries value when it is working for what you guys want.

        1. If you don’t protect your border you have no country, it has nothing whatsoever to do with a dictatorship, or democracy,
          just common sense. But you are right about one thing, there will be another vote come 2020, and we will see then what most Americans want. I hope Schumer and Pelosi keep acting stupid.

            • UKFMLY on January 18, 2019 at 5:06 pm

            I am ok with another vote in 2020. I am not ok with punishing innocent workers. If congress votes for and approves a wall I am ok with that too. It’s how democracy work. But obviously you are not ok with not getting a wall. Huge difference between you and I.

          1. I am for protecting our border by building the wall and protecting Americans like our elected leaders are supposed to do, nothing more. This should not be a political issue. Trump is trying to do the right thing for America. Out of the approx 800,000 people this shut down effects, most support the wall. That has been documented. They will all get paid eventually. I understand that they can file claims and get paid now, but they will have to pay the money they receive now back when this is all settled. Fund the wall and the shut down is over. If Trump caves these Dems in power will never negotiate with him or make a proposal. That is stupidity. But apparently you want open borders too or you could see right through this Democrat . illegals are pouring over the border now with more on the way. All the Dems want is more illegal votes. I think I know the difference between you and I.

  7. FACT…
    Unless you’ve experienced the effects of illegal immigration, you simply have little to no understanding of the importance of a border wall. Only those of us who have lived on the border and the Border Patrol agents who do their best to prevent illegal crossings truly understand the issues.

  8. The Democrats want an open border because the illegals always vote democratic. They shouldn’t be voting at all, but if you believe that, I have a bridge for sale in Brooklyn.

  9. What’s the difference of giving 450 million to foreign aid and not giving funds for the wall. I’m for the wall to be built.

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