“I feel cheated,” says Kenneth Portal, an employee at Camp Pendleton in Virginia Beach, who was told he will be furloughed starting Friday. “I feel cheated and disgusted.”
While Portal is a state employee, his job as a janitor at Camp Pendleton is federally funded. Portal was given the news Thursday morning that he would be furloughed.
“It’s going to put a serious dent in our budget,” he says.
With a wife, 10-month-old and a teenager, the blow is overwhelming. The bills are already piled up.
“We’ve got a ton of bills that we’ve already gotten behind in, where I had little Kenny and from when I was without a job for a few months,” says Tabitha Portal.
Before his job now serving the military, Portal was in the Navy for 15 years, then the Virginia National Guard.
“I did something big for my country,” Portal says. “It’s like pulling the rug from right under us.”
The government also funds his dream of one day owning a restaurant and becoming an executive chef. The GI bill has allowed him to attend night school at the Art Institute, but also helps pay rent
He’s worried that too could be taken away.
“I have about three years left with the school and I can’t be paying out of pocket,” Portal says.
For now, Portal says he’ll try to find another job and spend more time with his family.
According to CNN, benefits such as disability and GI payments will continue, but if the shutdown goes into November, that funding will stop.
Friday is Portal’s last day before he is furloughed.