LOUISVILLE (WATE) - Furloughed employees started returning to McGhee Tyson Air National Guard Base Thursday. 275 military technicians were put on leave October 1, coming back to work a week later under orders from the Pentagon.
Last Friday, 67 other employees were furloughed. They are state employees whose salaries are reimbursed by the federal government.
MSgt. Rusty Dawson is an engineering assistant at the air base. His first day of furlough was last Friday. His wife is employed by Y-12, and she too would have been furloughed Thursday if an agreement hadn't been reached in Washington.
With a new baby and a new house, an unexpected and unpaid vacation came as good and bad news to Dawson.
"The good is we had time to unpack and get the house in order. The bad is we just bought a brand new house. With no income, it just makes it tough," he said.
Dawson was relieved to get the call Thursday morning that his furlough was over.
"We're trying to get back to business as usual," said Col. Thomas Cauthen, Wing Commander, 134th Air Refueling Wing.
He said they have a lot to do before the end of the month. Even though many technicians came back to work last week, they didn't have money for operations.
"We probably canceled about 25 training missions that we normally use to keep our air crews current and qualified in the airplane," he said.
The end of this shutdown doesn't mean the end of possible problems.
"Here in about three months the fear is that we're going to be going through this exact same thing again. Our hope is that that doesn't happen," Col. Cauthen said.
While the federal base employees will get back pay, Col. Cauthen said he still isn't sure if those 67 state employees, like Dawson, will be paid for the days they were furloughed.