Furloughs are a though reality for many workers in the Tennessee Valley but a volunteer group has started up hoping to turn the forced time off into a positive for the community.
The group met Friday morning at Asbury United Methodist Church in Madison to brainstorm service project ideas - then get started on some. Many of those gathered work on Redstone Arsenal and were eager to put their time off to productive use.
"They decided not to stay at home, to not be on the golf course," said Madison Mayor Troy Trulock, who was at the event to offer service project suggestions, "They decided to give back to the community."
Russ Wetzel, an engineer and family man, came up with the idea for "Furlough Fridays" at the church, "Are we gonna sit and grouse? We could do that. Or... take action and do something positive for our church, community and beyond."
Projects considered Friday included bar-coding textbooks at Bob Jones High School, replacing lightbulbs on the church campus and in the future, sprucing up areas of Madison's Dublin Park like Kids' Kingdom.
The group plans to meet at the church every Friday at 8:00 a.m. until furloughs - caused by forced budget cuts at the federal level - end in the fall. They are inviting anyone who would like to join in the community service efforts to show up or just come to suggest ideas for projects.
Contact Asbury United Methodist at 980 Hughes Rd. Madison, AL, 35758 or call (256) 837-0365 for more information.