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Thousands of WSMR employees to receive furlough notices

By Vanessa de la Viña, vanessa@kvia.com
Published On: Jun 01 2013 11:31:41 AM CDT
Updated On: Jul 18 2014 11:58:07 AM CDT

ABC-7's Vanessa de la Vina reports.

LAS CRUCES, N.M. -

Thousands of employees at White Sands Missile Range will be furloughed this year because of federal budget cuts.

"It's not fun. No one wants to receive a furlough letter. When it's handed to you, it's not something you want to do, but frankly it's the reality of working with the Department of Defense within the federal government right now," said WSMR spokeswoman Monte Marlin.

Marlin just received her furlough notice this week.

She said employees at the Army facility have been preparing for this for months.

"In some ways, that's good because we've had time to adjust to the notion and make plans. In other ways, it's difficult because we've lived with the stress it puts on the lives of the affected employees," Marlin said.

About 2,500 employees at White Sands will be furloughed, including Julia Armstrong and her husband.

"It was a shock that it was actually coming to fruition. I think there have been many people on the installation who had hoped that it wouldn't happen at all," Armstrong told ABC-7.

Armstrong said families like hers feel double the impact. It means cutting back on unnecessary expenses, which could affect nearby communities like Las Cruces.

"I think it will impact the amount of eating out that we do on the weekends and things we might treat ourselves to in the community," Armstrong said.

Despite the furloughs, Armstrong said White Sands employees will continue to work with pride.

"There's always the question of, 'Why? Why is it that we have to be the ones who are sacrificing and taking that time out and that money loss when we have such important jobs to do?'" she said.

Employees will be furloughed one day a week for 11 weeks.

Furloughs begin on July 8.

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