Air Force vet faces separation from family after losing job due to COVID-19

Updated: Jun. 16, 2020 at 11:10 PM EDT
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CINCINNATI (FOX19) - An Air Force veteran may be forced to live separately from his family after he lost his job due to the coronavirus.

Rhonda and Joe Tignor say their son, Sean Vizgirdas, is at risk of being isolated from his wife and children due to circumstances out of his control.

Sean met his wife, Bredge, when he was stationed in the United Kingdom as a firefighter in the Air Force. Nine years of marriage later, the couple have two kids, Isla and Nate.

The family has been living in Qatar for nearly five years after Sean accepted a teaching position at a college there.

They have been planning to stay there until at least 2022. Afterwards, they planned to move to the United States. The Tignors said Bredge even applied for her visa in March.

However, everything came to a halt on June 6 when Rhonda and Joe said their son lost his job because of COVID-19.

“When we first heard, of course there was shock, and then you get mad about it, and you kind of go through the stages of grief,” Joe said.

Now Sean and his family have 90 days to leave Qatar, which is not enough time for Bredge to get her visa.

Sean is trying to find a new job in Qatar, but if he does not, his parents say the four could be forced to live in separate countries for an extended time: Sean would move to the U.S. while Bredge and the kids move to the U.K.

“Well at first, it was a lot of tears, and a lot of, ‘This isn’t fair,'" Joe said. "There’s still a lot of feeling that it isn’t fair, and of course, it isn’t fair, but you know, it’s the circumstances.”

Rhonda and Joe are advocating for their son and his family by writing and calling congressmen and women, talking to attorneys and even using social media and YouTube to ask for help.

“We’ve contacted the Congress and Senators’ offices, and hopefully they’re getting on board with this and helping to expedite the process,” Joe said.

They hope that in the future, something can be done to better accommodate veterans who are facing similar circumstances.

“Sean has actually talked about doing something in the future to see that the process changes," Rhonda said.

Government websites do not offer clear answers specific to Sean’s situation.

Rhonda says they want to do everything the right and legal way. They are asking anyone with information that could help them to contact them.

Anyone wanting to reach the Tignors can email Jessica Schmidt at

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