Shutdown Looms: Moody Families on Pins and Needles

By: Gabrielle Sarann Email
By: Gabrielle Sarann Email

Moody Air Force Base employs thousands of people in the Valdosta area, bringing in $409,391,645 each year to the local economy, according to Moody AFB.

If Washington lawmakers don't break the impasse, it's these families who will be affected the most.

Stephanie Tarbox, 26, and her 3-year-old son, Talen, are one of those families. "We're all outraged that our husbands are putting their lives on the line to defend our country and our country's not defending us"

Just a month ago, Tarbox's husband, Tech Sgt. Nicholas Tarbox, was deployed to Afghanistan. Stephanie isn't sure what she'll do if a government shutdown isn't averted.

"We will not be able to buy groceries or buy any of the necessary things that we need and pay our bills. You know, and keep us going over here."

Stephanie is a Moody Air Force Base military spouse, one of many who frequent McKey park in Valdosta.

"I'm very concerned but I'm just trying to not cry cause I don't want to cry on camera," said Jessica Martie, 26, whose husband is a Staff Sergeant at Moody. She added, "But I really don't know what we're gonna do."

If Congress doesn't reach an agreement by midnight about 6,081 Moody Air Force Base employees will not get paid, including active duty military, reservists and civilians.

Because the base's annual payroll is almost $230 million each year, if no bill is agreed upon, that would mean almost $5 million in area pay could be withheld each week.

Other area residents, like Shirley Walker, spoke out about the impasse, "They're over there fighting for our freedom basically everyday, putting their lives on the line and they can't make a decision here."

Jean Mason, 61, whose son served in the Marines added, "They have families and responsibilities back here just as we do and if they don't get paid, their families don't have a place to live or eat."

With the 11th hour in Washington here, Congress is down to the wire to approve and send a budget to the President.

It seems to boil down to abortion and a few hundred million dollars in subsidies for Planned Parenthood. It's a hotly contested issue and hopefully one that won't mean going weeks without pay for area military families.

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