When the United States government shut down Oct. 1, hundreds of thousands of federal employees were sent home without pay — including several BYU-Idaho students.
Andrew Parry, a junior studying communication, said he felt sorry for all the nation’s employees that had been furloughed, but didn’t think his job with the military would be affected.
A few hours after he heard the news of the shutdown, Parry got a call from his squad leader, who informed him that they were canceling drill this week and would be pushing them back until the government opened again.
“At that point, I realized it was a lot more serious,” Parry said.
Parry will lose 16 work hours with the military during the shutdown.
“The military pays really well, so losing 16 hours there is like losing 30 hours at Wal-Mart, where I also work,” Parry said.
Parry was scheduled to get part of his sign-on bonus next month, but now he has to wait another cole of months to receive it.
“It’s a pretty big chunk of money, but I can wait a cole of months for it,” Parry said. “It just means tighter budgeting for me.”
Parry said he is more concerned for his father, who is in the military, and has been a victim of eight furloughs this year.
“A cole of days ago, my dad announced he’s going to be retiring from the military so he can find a job that is stable and will not shut down,” Parry said.
Mary Lynne Jensen, department manager and owner of Jacob Lake Inn, said 95 percent of her employees are BYU-I students on their off track.
The inn is located on the Grand Canyon’s property, and although the government doesn’t fund them, their income depends on the tourists who visit the Grand Canyon.
“When people find out they can’t see all the national parks that surround the Grand Canyon, they cancel their trip,” Jensen said. “The shutdown has affected us incredibly.”
Sean Byers, a junior studying psychology, is a waiter at Jacob Lake Inn. He said he lost a considerable amount of money due to a lack of customers.
“My income is based off of tips that I make,” Byers said. “There have been cancellations on 50 rooms.”
Byers said BYU-I students working at the inn have been stressed because they haven’t been making as much money as they expected on their off track.
“I traveled 1,100 miles to get here, and to find out it’s closed for part of my off track is frustrating,” Byers said.
Emily Rice, a junior studying psychology, is a child and youth program
assistant for CYS Sports on the Ramstein military base in Germany.
Rice said none of the janitors or cooks can work at the Child Development Center due to the shutdown, meaning Rice has to do extra work.
“The Air Force shut down their sports programs, and some events we had planned for our organization can no longer happen because the security and safety teams aren’t available to be on-site with us during the event, which is mandatory,” Rice said.
One of the events that got canceled was a “College Night,” which consisted of college representatives coming to Germany form the United States.
“It’s usually a pretty great event since kids over here don’t always have the opportunity to visit colleges in the states,” Rice said.
Rice said their newspaper is only delivered to places with deployed soldiers.
Reggie Griffiths, a sophomore studying mechanical engineering, said his mom was laid off from her job at Pike National Forest in Colorado Springs.
Some people are frustrated with the furloughs, but Griffith’s mom doesn’t mind the time off.
“She is secretly loving it, but she also prefers staying busy,” Griffiths said. “She’s at the point where she’s ready to retire anyway. If the government shut down is more than just a few days, I think she’d welcome it with open arms.”
Parry said he is thinks that politicians need to clean their act.
“I don’t think there is one person to blame, I think they’re all to blame,” Parry said. “They need to put the American people’s needs above their owns and stop acting like kindergarteners.”