Erzsebet “Cindy” Young Brode has been to war and served her country for nearly two decades in the U.S. Air Force.
Brode, 42, of Akron, a civilian employee at the Youngstown Air Reserve Station, is one of hundreds of thousands of federal employees feeling the brunt of this week’s federal government shutdown.
“I’m a little depressed about what is going on,” said Brode, who served 2½ years active duty in the Air Force as a Desert Storm/Desert Shield veteran, and 15 more years in the Air Force Reserve.
On Tuesday, she went to work at the Trumbull County military base and signed furlough papers, cleaned off her desk, and went home, along with about 400 others.
She said the lack of a paycheck from her approximately $50,000-a-year job as a compliance officer and inspector in environmental health will hurt.
She said she helps care for her mother, who suffers from cancer and dementia, and her brother.
Brode is an active volunteer at Valor Home, the veterans homeless shelter in Akron, at the Medina Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and at the Boys and Girls Club.
She also was furloughed for six days this summer.
Asked if she is angry about the furloughs, Brode said no.
“I am trying to stay positive,” she said. “Taking it one day at a time.”
Brode said she receives a $569-a-month disability payment from Veterans Affairs for service-related back issues.
She said she is essentially living paycheck to paycheck, and has about depleted her savings.
“I’m very nervous,” she said, adding that she owes about $5,000 in back medical bills and is falling behind on payments.
She comes from a military family.
Her late grandfather, Jack Giffen Young, served in the Army during World War II, receiving a Purple Heart in the Pacific. Her late father, Jack W. Young, served in the Air Force in Korea.
“I loved the Air Force,” she said.
What needs to happen, she said, to end the governmental crisis is “our top politicians need to get their act together and agree on stuff and get moving. ...They need to get off their high horse and resolve it.”
She said she spoke out publicly about the impact of the furloughs because some are afraid of retaliation and cannot talk or are unwilling to talk.
“The public needs to know what is going on,” said Brode, who received her degree in health education from Kent State University and is working on a master’s degree from the University of Findlay.
“A lot of co-workers are stressed,” she said. “Financially, it is a burden on everybody.”
Separately, Lockheed Martin announced Friday that it will furlough 3,000 employees Monday during the shutdown.
The defense contractor has a plant and about 440 workers in Akron.
A spokeswoman at Lockheed Martin’s Maryland headquarters said the company is not identifying where the 3,000 employees will be furloughed.
“Today’s announcement affects all our business areas across the country,” said Gordon Johndroe, vice president of worldwide media relations.
“We remain in discussions with our customers to assess individual program impacts,” he said. “This is an ongoing situation and it’s premature to say where the immediate effects are right now.”
Jim Carney can be reached at 330-996-3576 or email@example.com.