'This is our job': TSA worker says it's his duty to show up to work

HOUSTON – Alex Naffa is a Transportation Security Administration officer who has worked with the department for more than seven years.

“I would say most of us joined TSA to save the public and make sure that we make America safe,” said Naffa.

He said that’s why he has continued to show up for work every day during the partial federal government shutdown.

“I’m very thankful to all the officers, every single fellow employee that’s actually going to work, sacrificing their life and time, and to go to work to keep America safe, to keep the public safe. Keeping the airlines and employees safe because this is our job and we can’t just quit on it. This is our No. 1 goal,” explained Naffa.

But he admits the lack of pay since Dec. 22, has been hard.

“No pay, that means no money for the mortgage or the cars or the insurance or the bills that we have. So it’s been very tough on all of us,” said Naffa. “Last thing I want to go through is a foreclosure on my house, because right now I don’t have the funds to pay my mortgage.”

He said he was the only one in his family bringing in money.

“I have two daughters and they are 1 year old and 3 years old and we don’t put them in day care because, of course, it’s going to cost us more. So our wife takes care of them, so she doesn’t work so basically it’s only me working right now,” said Naffa, who is also taking care of his father, who just had surgery.

The father of two said through all of this, the community has truly been a blessing and he thanks God for living in a great city.

He said the airlines and airport have been helpful with food vouchers and that passengers have been helpful through charity organizations. Naffa had apples and mangoes sitting in his kitchen that he received from the Houston Food Bank.

“I’m very, very thankful. Again, we’re Houston strong. You know, we’ve seen it during Harvey. Lots of people got lots of help from Houston, and I’m very lucky to be in this city, to be honest with you,” said Naffa. “I’ve heard a lot from other co-workers who work in other cities. They’re not getting the help we’re getting. I’m very, very thankful to God, of course, first and to Houston.”

He said he plans on signing up for Houston Relief Hub help.