BATTLE CREEK, Mich. (WOOD) - All 119 technicians at the Battle Creek Air National Guard Base who were furloughed last week went back to work Tuesday.
President Barack Obama signed the "Pay Our Military" act, allowing them to get paid. But it's unclear when they will get their paychecks and if this is the last furlough this year.
"It's far from fixed," Col. Ronald Wilson, the Vice Wing Commander of the 110th Airlift Wing, said.
The base funded almost entirely by federal money and there's still no indication when the shutdown will end.
"That's what's been taken right now, the resources even to keep the lights on. We have them on, but that might end," Wilson said.
There is enough money now to keep everything running, but the base has big bills. Electricity alone costs about $42,000 per month.
The base is watching every penny and preparing for a longer shutdown.
"We aren't doing anything extra," Wilson said.
A drill scheduled for 900 people next month has been canceled. And as the shutdown drags on, more events may be canceled.
The guard has only 24 days to train their men and woman to the same level as active-duty counterparts. Cutting just a day can have great effects.
"We can't put people out who aren't trained to do things," Wilson said.
That could mean crews won't be available to help with a disaster in West Michigan or one overseas.
"We aren't out of the danger, not out of the woods yet," Wilson said.
And base employees are concerned about their livelihoods.
"I enjoyed the time I had with my family, but I'm glad to be back," said Master Sgt. Sonia Pawloski, who is eight months pregnant with her third child. "She'll be here in December. Hopefully everything will be squared away by then."
Pawloski has been working on the base for five years and with the National Guard for 13. Her husband also works on base. He avoided the furlough, which helped ease her fears for now.
She said there would be a financial concern for their family if her furlough continued. For now, she is trusting the base will be able to pull through the shutdown.
But if federal funds don't come soon, expenses will have to be reduced.
"There is that question of will be here next week or the week after, but we're back for today," Pawloski said. "You can't help but wonder how far it will go this time."
The Air National Guard can only sit and wait until Congress passes a budget -- but a deal in Washington didn't seem imminent Tuesday.
In the meantime, the Air National Guard is asking people to let their political leaders know how they feel about the shutdown.
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