Furloughed guardsman fears losing Herriman dream home

Published: Wednesday, Oct. 2 2013 6:46 p.m. MDT

Eric Skog hugs and kisses his wife, Sue, as they talk about their fear of losing the home they are building in Herriman, Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2013. Eric is facilities manager at the Army Aviation Support Facility in West Jordan but has been furloughed.

Ravell Call, Deseret News

HERRIMAN — Since the beginning of June, Eric Skog has been the taking paid leave he's saved for the past two years to build his and his wife's dream home.

On Wednesday afternoon, he had to drop off trash at the dump and pick up the fireplace. He had another errand, too — stopping by the Army Aviation Support Facility to sign his furlough papers.

Skog, 48, a technician for the Utah Army National Guard 1st Battalion, 211th Aviation Regiment, was told Tuesday afternoon he was being furloughed.

He recently had a 48-hour furlough, which he and his wife said they were able to manage. But with their loan expiration looming in November, this furlough is different, said Sue Skog, 54.

“If it goes on longer than 30 days, I’m not going to be able to keep my house,” she said, looking around at the skeleton of the home she and her husband have dreamed of for 20 years. “We may lose everything."

After 30 years of serving in the military and 20 years as a technician, Eric Skog said he wonders what he’s supposed to do.

"We can't live like that," he said.

Lt. Col. Hank McIntyre, spokesman for the Utah National Guard, said the furlough affects half of the full-time employees of the Utah National Guard — about 1,200 people.

McIntyre said furloughed employees are not able to use their paid leave because there is no funding, but that they won't lose that time.

Eric Skog was deployed for eight months Kuwait, 18 months in Afghanistan, and just returned from Afghanistan again in January after another year deployment.

“He did everything right,” Sue Skog said. “He’s served his entire adult life since he was 18 years old. It’s all he knows.”

She has served for nearly 15 years as a family readiness volunteer, taking care of 400 families at one time, changing flat tires in the snow, and pumping raw sewage out of basements.

“And now where is my husband’s help?” she asked.

Sue Skog said she wants to know where the other National Guard families are. She said her own son, who is in the Air National Guard, was afraid to speak out because of the ramifications.

"Well, I’m not," she said. "I’ve put in my time, and somebody needs to do something. Where is everybody? Does anybody even care?”

Sue Skog said this is not the country she knows, or the country her husband signed up to serve. She's demanding a change.

“(Sen.) Orrin Hatch better remember the name Sue Skog,” she said, tears brimming in her eyes. “Because he hasn’t heard it for the last time. Because I will not go quietly into the night. My husband has given too much to this country for us to lose everything in our retirement because of 523 selfish, self-serving individuals. I will not go quietly into the night.”

Email: eeagar@deseretnews.com, Twitter: EmileeEagar

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