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Local National Guardsmen recalled from furlough because of TS Karen

(Courtesy Thomas Kielbasa, Florida National Guard Public Affairs)
(Courtesy Thomas Kielbasa, Florida National Guard Public Affairs)
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Updated: 10/04/2013 9:59 pm

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The imminent threat of Tropical Storm Karen has forced government leaders to lift furloughs on a group of essential National Guard personnel, at least for now.

A group of 10 Florida National Guard workers from the Jacksonville area trained in emergency management will provide support for crews on the ground in the path of Tropical Storm Karen.

More than half of the National Guard's 2,000 full-time federal employees have been furloughed. The cuts have severely impacted their day-to-day operations. Action News spoke to Lt. Col. James Evans, who said even he is feeling the effects of the government shutdown.

"We normally have 14 in public affairs, and today I'm the only one working, so it has a tremendous impact on the mission in my office and across the board," said Evans.

But it took the threat of Mother Nature to set furloughs aside for the time being. Evans said the group of 10 was called back to make sure crews dealing with battling Karen in the Panhandle have all the support they need.

"We need to make sure we have the right plays in the playbook and essentially these 10 folks are updating the playbook and making sure it's relevant for Tropical Storm Karen," said Evans.

The local employees will work before, during and in the aftermath of the storm. But when Karen passes, the group will be back to square one, forced to sit at home without pay until members of Congress makes up their minds.

The workers will not receive pay immediately. They'll have to wait until a resolution is reached in Washington, D.C., to get their paychecks.

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