Most Fort Hood Employees Return From Furlough

Most of the workers the U.S. Military was forced to furlough last week were called back to work Monday.

They were sent home last week when the budget battle in Washington caused a government shutdown.

"I'm so glad to see your smiling face," Army Wife Rebecca Bass tells Jacqueline, a cashier at Fort Hood's commissary who returned from mandatory leave Monday.

A partially returning workforce means the commissary is back up and running, and the low-price, tax-free goods help Rebecca put food on the table in more than one way.

"When the commissary shut down, we kind of took a blow," Rebecca said.

She depends on the store's affordability when stocking up for her home-based business, CHEeK Flavored Pickles.

She was relieved to heard the commissary would finally reopen after days of uncertainty.

"I was thrilled. I was jumping up and down and screaming. I know it sounds minute to most people -- oh the commissary is opening. No, to me it's a big thing, to my family, it's a big thing," Rebecca said.

And as civilians go back to work, it means among other things, transition offices are open and soldiers in limbo can transfer to and from Fort Hood or finally be allowed to retire.

Many are just glad to be back to their normal schedules.

"I was ready to get back to work, being off all these days and not knowing if we were going to get paid or not," said Simon Ferdin, a carpenter returning from furlough.

Employees expect to eventually be paid for coming back to work, though it's not clear when, since Congress doesn't yet have a budget appropriating that money.

"Basically, you're working on an IOU," said Samuel Boles with the American Federation of Government Employees.

It's also not clear if Furloughed workers will be paid retroactively for the days they missed.

They're just buckling down and doing what they have to in order to keep our military going, and they're received by many with open arms.

"I welcome them all back, I am very excited," said Rebecca.

Reporter: Sophia Stamas

Photographer: Chris Buford


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