Day 3: Shutdown strains civilian worker moral, impacts non-profits
Photo: Video by kgun9.com
TUCSON(KGUN9-TV) - Outside Davis-Monthan Air Force Base gates, everything appears to be business as usual. Inside the gates, it's a much different story.
Air Force Base officials say, since the shutdown, the commissary and gym have both shutdown and some planes have been grounded -- a result of the more than 1,600 civilian employees furloughed following partial government shutdown.
"I tell them they're a valued employee and yet we're giving them the message that you're a valued employee and yet I don't have any money to pay you. I have to send you home," Colonel Kevin Blanchard, the Commander of the base's 355th Fighter Wing.
"That's the emotional hard part is that uncertainty amongst those families that depend on that income," Col. Blanchard continued.
Stew Grabel works for the Pima Council on Aging. Among other services, the non-profit helps older eligible Americans apply for benefits, like disability.
"The government shutdown is very frightening to us depending on how long it lasts," Grabel told 9OYS.
According to Grabel, as of now, disability checks will still go out on time. In fact, those that qualify, can still apply for benefits. However, that could change, he says, depending on how long the shutdown sticks.
"We don't know the answer as to what point we're going to have to close shop, but it is probably not more than three months off if we continue at this rate," Grabel said.
It's the same story for Head Start, the not-for-profit child and family services organization. Locally, Tucson's Child-Parent Centers say they will be able to carry on, for now, citing "limited essential staff" which they say "brings a lot of uncertainty to future funding."