The Furlough Song
More than 2,000 Hanford workers are either being laid off or furloughed because of the federal government's sequester cuts. But one Pasco couple is dealing with this situation in a unique manner.
Jason Strickling's wife Lana works for a Hanford subcontractor. She's going to be on unpaid furlough for five weeks this summer.
The couple wrote a song about the impending forced time off effecting many local families. They say it's a funny take on a not so funny situation.
Jason put the song online Tuesday, and today it's gone viral.
Strickling sings "Furlough Comes" using Garage-band on his iPad. Two days later and more than 2000 hits...
"One song isn't going to change anything as far as we're concerned. But if it can help lift people's spirits, give them a little bit of you know, boost in morale through a tough time, that the best we can hope for," said Strickling.
He's a self described "soccer dad," fitness instructor and part-time chaplain. But the family will feel the extra 200 hours of unpaid vacation time this summer.
"It's five weeks of pay that we won't have that we have dreamed about. There are things that we'd like to do with that money and it's just not there," said Strickling.
Strickling is also a support pastor at Columbia Community Church. Lead Pastor Mark Barker says Strickling's personality is infectious.
"He's very laid back. Great attitude, great heart. Just a guy you could be friends with easily," said Barker.
Strickling says he wanted the song to take the edge off the tough times ahead for many families this year..
"The effect that lay-offs have on people... having to move, having to pick up other work, having to survive, and do what they have to keep moving forward to keep their families together," said Strickling.
Barker says keeping a sense of humor is key to getting through life.
"Sometimes when there's a lot of emotion we need to step back and kinda laugh at ourselves a little bit. And that's what Jason and Lana were trying to do," said Barker.
Strickling said, "I think we're trying to look at the positives of it. You know at Easter time we try and teach our kids the value of joy and gratitude."
He credits his wife with most of the lyrics and idea for the song.
As for Lana, she says she's even had some positive feedback and laughs from Hanford bosses and the Department of Energy.
To hear the song: http://ow.ly/jyOcD