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Community helps furloughed civilians during government shutdown

By Alison Parker
Published On: Oct 03 2013 04:31:20 PM CDT
Updated On: Oct 03 2013 05:12:12 PM CDT
JACKSONVILLE, ONSLOW COUNTY -

Maria Kirk is a mother of there, with her oldest child in college. On most days, she's also an IT officer aboard Camp Johnson. But the government shutdown has her home now, without a paycheck -- along with about 1,100 other civilians across Camp Lejeune, the New River Air Station and Cherry Point.

"We're prepared to cut back if we need to, depending on how long this goes for, but if it does go too long, then it will be a little more difficult than it is right now," Kirk said.

Her husband is in the military, so they have his income, but Kirk hopes the issues in Congress are resolved soon.

"It's nice to have that little bit of a break and do the things that you want to do, but you do miss having the normalcy of a paycheck, and the job, and being around the work people that you're so used to being around every day," Kirk said.

Kirk is using her time off to volunteer at the soup kitchen and plan local events, and while she's reaching out to help her community, the community is reaching out to people like her.

Assistant City Manager Ron Massey says officials want to make paying the bills a little easier.

"If one of the reasons they're stressed is because they may have a utility bill that's due and they're not in a position to pay it right then, then we're willing to work with them," Massey said.

Marine Federal Credit Union is helping its members keep money in their pockets in the meantime.

"We'll take their last payroll we received if they have direct deposit, and we'll post that, so they don't have to do without," said Craig Chamberlin, president and CEO of the credit union.

Kirk says it's acts of kindness like this that can help put many families at ease.

"The whole community is coming together, and the businesses are helping out with that and making it so that we can get through this quickly and hopefully as pain free as possible."