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Wednesday, April 7, 2010 as of 11:14 AM ET

Natural Disaster

Jonathan Serrie

Atlanta, GA

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National Guard Helps BP Claims Process

June 11, 2010 - 5:43 PM | by: Jonathan Serrie

Owned by the younger sister of singer Jimmy Buffet, LuLu’s restaurant is a popular tourist spot in Gulf Shores, Alabama. But the massive oil spill out in the Gulf of Mexico has reduced much of the restaurant’s clientele and, consequently, much of the tip-dependent income of its workers.

Many of these waiters, waitresses and other employees may qualify for compensation from BP. And today, dozens of them filed claims with a little help from some citizen soldiers.

Alabama Governor Bob Riley called out the National Guard to visit businesses along the Gulf coast and help owners and employees with the claims process. Most of the soldiers involved are college educated — many with real world business experience. 

“We are not here in a traditional role by any means,” said Maj. Jennifer Connelly. “But the governor thought that we would be perfect and that the National Guard could hand pick 201 people to come down here with financial experience, with world experience and just general assistance so that we could give it to the State of Alabama.”

This morning, LuLu’s employees clad in bright orange shirts gathered around the tables with the soldiers in camouflage uniforms, who walked them through the claims process. Similar scenes are expected to unfold at other businesses along Alabama’s coast throughout the upcoming days.