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Don’t take anything more from kids who have given up plenty

Submitted by on Friday, 8 January 2010 One Comment

I’m not one to whine about budget cuts – I understand the economic realities in the country at the moment, and I realize everyone is feeling some pain.

I’m also not surprised that Army posts are being told they’ll have to cut operating budgets for the rest of the fiscal year that barely began in October. There’s no word of the amount at Fort Irwin, but The Associated Press reports that the ax could chop as much as 40 percent at big posts such as Fort Campbell.

I wouldn’t be surprised if some of the cuts were in recreation programs – the very type of cuts that roiled the civilian world a year ago as cities looked to balance budgets.

And I only have one word in response. Two, actually: Please don’t.

“There’s nothing to do here” is an excuse I never let the guys use. I figure we can always conjure up something. It’s been a challenge at times on a post where you can’t even easily find craft supplies – or sometimes groceries, for that matter – though we’ve managed.

But the truth is, the really is nothing to do here. Not if you cut recreation programs such as the soccer league the guys are looking forward to this month. Or the guitar class or karate lessons Big Guy wants to take some day. Or the drum class I’m not telling him about.

They’re not free, but they’re dang cheap. To register two kids for soccer I paid roughly half of what it cost me for one in civilian life. A slight increase in fees might be tolerable, particularly if it were indexed to income.

Yes, the classes and sports might sound like a frill, an extravagance for a military that also is supporting soldiers at war. But considering that we’re 40 miles away from any other options, it’s practically a necessity. I say “practically” because, given the choice between cutting money that helps my husband and money that amuses my kids, I’d pick the latter in a heartbeat. He’s given up far more than they have.

There already are mixed messages as to what services are vulnerable. Though the head of the Army’s Army’s Installation Management Command says police and fire will be preserved, officials at at least one fort are saying the opposite.

Fort Campbell might cut janitorial services, recreation center hours and lawn-mowing – there’s little of the latter to eliminate here. Fort Meade might look at privatizing utilities – much of ours already are.

High-ranking officials are saying they’ll preserve the Army Family Covenant, a $1.4 billion commitment to improving housing, child care and more.

Youth services also are a part of that commitment. I hope officials remember that.

Copyright 2010 Debra Legg. All rights reserved.

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One Comment »

  • Leslie K said:

    NO NO NO NO NO…this is the LAST thing the kids need…who do we write to? Army Auntie is on the job…btw, nephew is at Ft Benning, GA as we speak.