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With two paychecks missed already, local air traffic controllers relieved over government shutdown deal

BONNEY LAKE -- A paycheck in the pennies.

“We are not sure what the 85 cents is for, it might be a shortage from a paycheck before,” Sherri O’Neill said.

Sherri, an air traffic controller, is now missing two paychecks, a month's worth of work.

“It's taken a toll on the whole family,” Sherri said.

Right now Sherri is the sole earner for her family of three and the bills are piling on.

“Having to make a lot of changes. Eating Top Ramen, things we didn’t think we needed to do,” her husband Jake O’Neill said.

“It's kind of a gut punch. We work hard every day, we take pride in our profession,” Sherri said.

A highly stressful profession burdened financially by the government shutdown.

“To have all of this weighing over you, it makes the stress even worse,” Sherri said.

But during the middle of our visit on Friday, the Bonney Lake family got the news that a deal had been reached to end the government shutdown, at least for the next three weeks.

They listened in as President Trump addressed federal workers.

“I will make sure all employees receive their back pay,” President Trump said.

“It's nice to hear the thanks for the sacrifices that we've made,” Sherri said.

It's a relief, but anxiety too.

“It's kicking the can for 3 weeks so are we going to go through this all over again?” Jake said.

“Hopefully it doesn’t get shut down again,” Sherri said.

Even their 5 year-old daughter has felt the weight of her parents worries.

“She’s been really great and supportive,” Jake said.

So supportive that Kaitlyn offered her savings in her piggy bank to help with the bills.

“I said I want to help in any way I can,” Kaitlyn said.

They are getting by with the help of the community as well.

They are grateful to banks like Chase and Wells Fargo allowing them to delay their credit and mortgage payments during the government shutdown.

“It’s amazing the outreach we’ve had, that support,” Sherri said.

 

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