Fort Bliss, TX (U.S. Army) — Virginia Reza, Garrison Public Affairs
Dear Furloughed employees,
Like you, I recently received a letter notifying me 20 percent of my pay will be forcibly taken during the next three months.
Naturally I was devastated, as I never thought it would happen. I hoped Congress would come through and find a solution other than causing deliberate financial distress to so many who cannot afford such draconian measures.
I’ve also written to my congressman letting him know I’m moving in with him, but not to worry as I make some killer bean tacos.
Personally, I’ve stopped buying things I can do without, which I suggest you do the same, as everyone has to feel the pain, otherwise this will just be a slippery slope for the future. The key is to let everyone feel our pain!
I consider myself fortunate as other than my mortgage, I don’t owe much, but nevertheless, I got rid of small luxuries such as cable TV, phone and internet package and reduced the minutes and texts on my cell phone. No more eating out, which on the bright side might help my waistline. No more movies, theatre, concerts and that vacation I so wanted to take this year.
On a lighter note, Garrison has come up with several suggestions and programs to ease the financial burdens we minions will have to endure.
For example the Army Community Services Financial Readiness Program is offering financial classes. These include: Budgeting for furlough, Planning and Budgeting, Stretching your Dollar, Coupon Clues and more. Pre-registration is required. For times, dates and to register, visit www.blissmwr.com/frp . For more information, call 569-4227.
If you are using the Fort Bliss Child Youth and School Services, you can apply for reduced child care payments. Simply take your furlough letter to your Fort Bliss child care provider. They are also offering an additional 10 percent discount if you volunteer on your furlough days. For more information, call 568-4374.
The Team Bliss senior chaplain’s office is available to offer spiritual care, crisis help, and support. They can assist with groceries, the payment of some bills, and help grant referrals to other helping charities or agencies. Call 568-4631to learn more about their assistance.
The Employee Assistance Program will assess and refer furloughed employees to financial resources and financial credit counselors off post. They also offer stress and anger management classes on post. For more information, call 744-1415.
The Better Opportunities for Single Parents invites you to attend one of their many functions. For more information, call Tammy at 569-5500.
You can also save money by joining the Vamonos Vanpool Program. The vanpool is a group of five to 15 people who commute to work on a regular basis in a van. For more information, call 351-2042 or visit www.vanride.com .
For civilian personnel concerned about the financial impact furloughs will bring remember you are not alone. Above are some tips and resources to help you. If you need further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact ACS for a confidential review. Call 569-8376 to schedule your appointment. Office hours are 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., at Bldg. 2494, Ricker Road.