Community members give donations to air traffic controllers

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WDEF) — As air traffic controllers face going without another paycheck due to the partial government shutdown, community members in the Tennessee Valley are giving them donations.

At the Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport, air traffic controllers say the partial government shutdown is negatively impacting them.

“It is seriously affecting the morale of the controllers,” Jon Manley said.

Manley has been an air traffic controller for 11 years. He and his wife have 7 kids to support. In the meantime while he is not being paid, Manley decided to also be an Uber driver.

“So having the flexibility to do something around the edges on the side is a huge issue. And so the nice thing about Uber is it does allow for that, but it doesn’t come anywhere close to offsetting the salary that we are missing,” Manley said.

Tuesday morning, Frank Miller, with the Mizpah Congregation, brought gift cards for FAA workers. He and other members of the synagogue collected donations from businesses and community members.

“When I have given these cards and people have tears in their eyes to say how much it meant, not only from the cards, but how much it meant to know that people care, that’s made all of the difference in the world,” Miller said.

“It is a huge encouragement to know that the community is coming to help because again with the guys at work, there is a stress. It is an additional stress already to a stressful job and it is one that we are very thankful to have people like Frank, and the congregation he is apart of, to help alleviate that,” Manley said.

FAA and TSA workers can’t accept cash. People can only give them gift cards to a store, but it can’t it be worth more than $20 at a time. A person can only give a federal worker $50 a year in gift cards.

“People want to do something, but they don’t know how to do it. You have to do it in the correct manner. Otherwise it can’t be accepted by the TSA. So we are very proud to be part of it and we are proud to be able to get the rest of the community to jump in to help as much as they are able as well,” Miller said.

Manley is hoping the shutdown will end soon.

“It is one thing to play politics with our paychecks, it is one thing to play politics to the people who are providing a service, but this really affects the whole air space system,” Manley said.

Members of the synagogue have donated more than $4,500 in gift cards to federal workers.

If you would like to help, contact Mizpah Congregation or email Miller at


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