WESTMINSTER — WESTMINSTER - County residents with family or friends stationed in the Persian Gulf can visit Montgomery Ward & Co. at Cranberry Mall to videotape messages for them.

A room set up to resemble a living room is available for tapings whenever the store is open, said store manager Ann Mutmansky.


The company is providing a camcorder, television, videocassette recorder, tapes and mailing materials at no charge, she said.

Montgomery Ward is providing the same equipment to service people in the gulf and will pay postage for them to send the tapes to their family and friends, she said.


The project, called "Better Than A Letter," is being coordinated in the gulf by United Service Organizations.

Mutmansky said that Thursday about seven families had made tapes at the Westminster store.

The tapes are 120 minutes long, but most people have recorded for 10 or 15 minutes, she said.

Montgomery Ward stores around the country are participating in the project. The company has donated 450 camcorders, 350s televisions, 370 VCRs and more than 250,000 videotapes, a press release said. The estimated cost of the project is $2 million.

The project will continue until the troops return to the United States, Mutmansky said.

The USO is transporting the equipment to the Gulf and coordinating distribution, the release said.

Montgomery Ward has placed canisters in its store for donations for the "Better Than A Letter" and other USO projects.

A USO employee said in the release that the project "will help immensely in boosting morale and providing relief from the burden of boredom."


Information: (800) 365-8500 or 857-8500.