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Oklahoma National Guardsman Frustrated, Worried By Government Shutdown

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Tommy Hamilton, a government-contracted electronic technician, is out of work and filing for unemployment for the first time in his life. Tommy Hamilton, a government-contracted electronic technician, is out of work and filing for unemployment for the first time in his life.
Hamilton has been a soldier in the Oklahoma Army National Guard for a decade. Hamilton has been a soldier in the Oklahoma Army National Guard for a decade.
Hamilton and his family lost their home in a May tornado. Hamilton and his family lost their home in a May tornado.
OKLAHOMA CITY -

The government shutdown continues to frustrate families, who are out of work as a result.

One Norman father and soldier is worried he might not be able to make ends meet.

"We were notified last Monday that we would work half a day on Tuesday and that basically, we need to start shutting all of our equipment down and go home on Tuesday," Tommy Hamilton said.

For the first time in his life, Hamilton, a government-contracted electronic technician, is out of work and filing for unemployment.

"I'm forced to wonder, are we going to go back to work or how long will this last, or do I need to look for another job?" 

Hamilton lives in Norman. He's studying for his Ph.D in education at Oklahoma State University, and has been a soldier in the Oklahoma Army National Guard for a decade. Just Friday, he learned the Guard is canceling this upcoming weekend's drill due to the government shutdown. That means Hamilton is out about $500, in addition to not having a paycheck.

"Drill is about a fourth of some of the younger soldiers' monthly income," said Hamilton. "So I know they'll be feeling the loss."

Now, Hamilton's family is forced to tap into the savings they're already using after their last home was destroyed in May's tornado.

"We basically lost everything we own," he said. "So we're just now getting back on her feet, and thinking yeah, we got this thing rolling again, and here comes another thing to pull the carpet out under our feet."

10/1/2013 Related Story: Government Shutdown Affects Tinker, OK National Guard

Hamilton says he loves being a part of the National Guard and loves his job, but he's frustrated that the shutdown has placed his life in limbo.

"People want to get back to work, and I know that not everyone is affected by this, and a lot of people may say, ‘oh, the government shutdown. I didn't really notice,' because they don't have that two degrees of separation," he said.

"But my message would be to call your legislators, get them on the phone, and hold them to task, hold them to the job that they were voted to go do. We're the most powerful nation in the world. We have to be able to figure out our money matters."

Hamilton says in the meantime, he's hoping he can be substitute teacher at a high school while he's out of work.

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