Local resident fears duration of government shutdown

MARION COUNTY, W. Va. (WDTV)-- "I pride myself on paying my bills on time, having a good credit record, having these things and now I don't have that. I don't have that security," said Lee VanKirk, a prison counselor.

So far, the partial government shutdown has lasted 21 consecutive days. On Saturday, this will be the longest government shutdown in history.

Lee VanKirk is one of thousands of federal employees scared about how he's going to make ends meet.

"Take the reality of the situation. I don't have a paycheck, so what bills do I pay? That adds anxiety and then you get scared," said VanKirk.

Today, VanKirk, like many others, didn't get a paycheck. A paycheck he says he relies on for everything.

"If the shutdown continues any length of time it'll get down to the decision where you have to budget your money. It may become a decision where I have to say, I either put gas in my vehicle or I go to work," said VanKirk.

Even with pay, his job as a prison counselor is not one many people would want to do.

"A lot of people wouldn't do this job, if they really knew what it was about, they wouldn't do this job with pay," said VanKirk.

VanKirk says as an 'essential' employee he still has to show up for work even though it's no guarantee he'll see the money for his time.

"I take pride in what I do, that's why I'm there. That's why I still go to work. If we're not there and we don't do our job, the system will breakdown," said VanKirk.

He says as a federal employee, they try to plan for shutdowns.

However, this one, hitting home even more.

"Not being paid, not knowing when you're going to get paid, not knowing when you're going to go home and have collection calls or collection notices in the mail," said VanKirk.

He says his biggest worry is not being able to take care of his priorities.

"Not being able to pay my bills and not being able to put food on the table."

VanKirk says he's paid his bills for this month, but if the shutdown continues he will face some very tough decisions come February.