NASA scientist finds new purpose amid furlough

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by Andrew Horansky / KHOU 11 News

khou.com

Posted on October 3, 2013 at 10:43 PM

Updated Thursday, Oct 3 at 11:00 PM

HARRIS COUNTY, Texas-- When Tara Ruttley, 38, found out she was furloughed, she decided to make the best of it.

“It’s okay to be disappointed,” Ruttley said. “It’s okay to be down, but you can’t let it last for too long.”

The NASA scientist and mom saw an opportunity to dive into the world of online grocery shopping. It was something she dreamed about for years.

“I decided to come home, open my laptop, and throw myself into my own small business at home,” Ruttley said.

She runs the Grocery Station out of Clear Lake City. Customers submit an online list of grocery items and shoppers pick them up for a fee.

With her full-time job now out of the way, Ruttley can focus on building her customer base.

“And so all these folks I knew that could benefit from the service, I just never had the time to reach out to them and to talk to them,” Ruttley said. “And so now, I’m finding that I have the time to do that.”

This week about 800,000 federal employees were forced to take furloughs. NASA was the agency hardest-hit, as roughly 97 percent of its staff went home without pay.

Ruttley said she looks forward to returning to her job soon and has every intention of one day looking back on this period with fond memories.

She will know she not only endured a tough time, but that she also came out of it stronger.

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