Beach furloughed worker: ‘I feel cheated and disgusted’

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Virginia Beach, Va. - There's still no resolution in the partial government shutdown. Both sides are talking, but not coming to any sort of compromise. This is happening all while folks living right here in Hampton Roads fear what it means for them and their families.

"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.


  • Doug

    Confused, all of these people who got furlough just got paid last week and normally it’s a 2 week pay check. They are living off that check just like everybody else for 2 weeks. The effect of no check will not be felt until there is no check the next pay period. Everyday people get layoff, fired etc. often unexpectedly. Why are we going after people who just because they are federal are they so different. We have had millions laid off when the economy with belly up in 2008 but now just because the government shut down we should feel sorry for these workers for the most part had secure jobs then. Welcome to the real world I would say. Uncertainly in your job be ready for it and use to it the rest of have have been dealing with it forever. I do feel sorry its happening but we cannot keep going down this road spending and spending there is a lot of more hurt going to happen.

    • ch

      Too True! Doesn’t anyone know anything about “saving for a rainy day” and “don’t live beyond your means”. Yes these are old adages, but they are more true now than ever. I don’t feel sad for any of these people. I’ve taken a 60% pay cut since 2009 and nobody is feeling sorry for me…nor do I want them to. I’ve simply adjusted my lifestyle and learned to do without.

  • Tiredofthis

    Walk a mile in somebody else’s shoes sometimes before you start throwing stones at the federal workers.

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