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95 pct. of furloughed Fort Hood civilian employees return to jobs

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Herald/Jaime Villanueva

Customers shop for groceries at the Warrior Way commissary at Fort Hood, after most of the civilian workers who were furloughed as a result of the government shutdown returned to work Monday, Oct. 7, 2013.

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Some normalcy returned to Fort Hood on Monday even though a government shutdown rages on.

Nearly 95 percent of the 1,140 Fort Hood civilians furloughed last week have returned to work, according to a statement from Andy Bird, Fort Hood deputy garrison commander.

Defense Department civilians with Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center, First Army Division West and the directorate of logistics also are at nearly 100 percent, post officials said.

“We are glad to have the garrison team back at work and we will continue to do our very best to provide the quality service our soldiers, families, Department of the Army civilians and retirees deserve and have earned in service to our nation,” said Col. Matt Elledge, garrison commander, in a statement.

Commissaries open

The commissaries also returned to their normal hours of operation, said Nancy O’Nell, spokeswoman for the Defense Commissary Agency.

“The Warrior Way Commissary was open today. The Clear Creek Commissary is normally closed on Monday and was closed today,” O’Nell said.

Whether these employees will receive retroactive pay for the week they didn’t work is still pending legislation.

At the Warrior Way Commissary, customers milled about, some expressing frustration at the weeklong closing that ended Monday.

Spc. Max Gregory, of 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, said he was surprised to find the commissary closed Wednesday.

“I won’t shop anywhere else,” he said, appreciating what he typically finds to be fair prices and shorter lines at the commissaries. He waited an additional week to purchase his groceries, rather than shopping at a civilian grocery store.

“Some shelves are a little empty but it’s to be expected,” said retiree Jim Enochs. “The meat’s fresh,” he said as he stocked up on his bi-weekly shopping trip.

Bagged salad was not available, along with a substantial amount of other produce. The store stocked canned fruit and vegetables where fresh produce was missing.

“There will be a short adjustment period as our stores settle back into their preshutdown operating and delivery routines,” O’Nell said.

Warrior Way Commissary expects to be fully stocked by Friday, store employees said.

For now, “commanders are assessing what services can be re-started and when,” Bird said. Along with the commissaries, hospital services will continue except for patient administrative functions such as record requests.

Deer bow hunting

Deer bow hunting reopens today after beginning to take reservations Monday afternoon, Fort Hood officials announced.

Gun and rifle deer hunting seasons remain on track to start Nov. 2.

Rose L. Thayer is the military editor for the Killeen Daily Herald. She joined the paper in February 2011 as a health and military reporter. View her complete profile Here. You can contact Rose L. Thayer at rthayer@kdhnews.com or (254) 501-7463. Follow her on Twitter at KDHmilitary.

6 images

Herald/Jaime Villanueva

Customers shop for groceries at the Warrior Way commissary at Fort Hood, after most of the civilian workers who were furloughed as a result of the government shutdown returned to work Monday, Oct. 7, 2013.

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