The Star – February 23, 2015
by Linda Lipp
FORT WAYNE — Jessica and Ken Butterfield are doing everything right, but it’s an everyday battle just to keep up with the costs of raising four children — let alone get ahead.
“We knew all along that it was our desire that we would home-school our children,” she said. “We made the choice before we got married that we wanted to have more control over what our kids were learning, the environment they were in.”
It also made no financial sense as their family grew for her to go back to work and put the children in day care. With the small salary she would have made, “at the end of the month if we had paid for child care, we wouldn’t even have broken even,” she said.
The Butterfields were getting along OK until late last year on his annual wages of $37,000 for a job at Triple Crown that came with good benefits. But he lost that job, and the benefits, when the company slashed its local workforce from 240 people to just 40. He found another position as a dispatcher with a small trucking company pretty quickly, and it came with $1,000 more a year in pay. The problem, however, was the switch would mean a health insurance bill for the family of $18,000 a year.
The family knew a month or so in advance that his job at Triple Crown would be cut, and he immediately started looking for something else. The trucking company where he now works was the first to make him an offer.
“We went over and over our finances. We looked at the option of taking this job with no insurance, or sitting on unemployment to look for something else. But unemployment would not have met our monthly bills. We felt that this was the choice we had to make,” Jessica explained.
The stress of coping
“Jessica can be very intense and over-stressed about things, and I am the complete opposite,” Ken agreed.
From a small town in Ohio, Jessica came to Fort Wayne to go to Taylor University, where she lasted about two years and changed her major several times.
“It was very important to me. I didn’t want to have to be getting assistance. I did not want that to be who we were,” she said. “I made my mistakes. I wanted to grow from them and teach my children better.”