Gulf roundup



Americans can say it all on a T-shirt, so why not express support for U.S. troops in the Persian Gulf?

Sales of T-shirts, sweat shirts and baseball caps with Operation Desert Storm decals have been hot sellers in the last two weeks, said Richard Ross, owner of Shared Expressions at Carrolltowne Mall in Eldersburg.

Two days after the war began on Jan. 16, a company in New Jersey had decals available, he said.

Ross has a handful of decals, including several that say "Support Our Troops" and "Operation Desert Storm" with pictures of jets flying, troops marching and flags waving.

One pictures Iraqi President Saddam Hussein with the logo "Public Enemy No. 1." Girlfriends favor the "Somebody in Saudi Arabia Loves Me" shirt, he said.

Ross also is selling buttons made from the same decals.

Stuart Zucker, owner of Tees Etc. at Cranberry Mall in Westminster, said he has knocked $4 off the normal price for Operation Desert Storm shirts. He said he doesn't want to appear to be profiting from the war.

Shirts with American flag decals also have been popular, Zucker said.

Another shirt that sells well pictures a peace symbol intertwined with an American flag with the words "We Support Our Troops," he said.

People of all ages are buying the shirts, Zucker and Ross said.


WESTMINSTER -- U.S.Marine Lance Cpl. Michael Earl Somers, 19, was among the first Marines to see action in last week's battle for Khafji, on the Kuwaiti-Saudi Arabian border.

Somers was ordered to Saudi Arabia Dec. 23 while home on leave for Christmas.

The son of Danny and Sharon Somers, he is a 1989 graduate of Westminster High who joined the Marines in July 1989.

"He's on an infantry fighting vehicle. He operates the radio," said Danny Somers. "He walked at first, then got this vehicle."

Somers is a radio communications operator with the 1st Marines, 1st Marine Division.

Danny Somers said his son was confident in the Marines and "definitely feels we should be there."

In a phone call Jan. 24, the Marine told his parents that all the service personnel cheered when the Patriot missile knocked down the first Iraqi Scud missile.


WESTMINSTER -- Bevann Garnes feels a strong commitment to volunteer service and doing what she can tohelp.

She especially likes the Red Cross, whose staff, she said, is always pleasant and helpful.

That's why the 45-year-old woman, who moved to Westminster a year ago, has signed up to go to the Persian Gulf as a Red Cross volunteer for a one-year hitch as an assistantstation manager.

"I'm single and unencumbered. And there are certain skills which I have that they need," she said.

Garnes isn't sure what her duties will entail beyond counseling and serving as a liaison between the military in the Persian Gulf and their families backhome in the United States.

"That's basically the function of the Red Cross," she noted, adding that she also would be on call constantly.

She doesn't know exactly where she will be stationed, other than that it's "somewhere in Saudi Arabia."

The former New Jersey teacher said the Red Cross is sending her to Texas for two weeks of training. She will return to Westminster for two days before heading east.

She said she signed up as a Red Cross volunteer last October and was asked to consider a Middle East hitch. Garnes signed up for theone-year contract prior to the declaration of war, but didn't changeher mind when Jan. 15 came.

"I find that service is extremely important to me, and if we're going to commit to something, we have to be unconditional about it," she said.

She said the Red Cross would fully support its volunteers in the Middle East, and they will stay as long as they're needed.

"Even if the war ends tomorrow, the troops won't leave, and we're there wherever the troops are," she said.


WESTMINSTER -- David Johansson, owner of Champs restaurant, has donated more than $200 from his Super Bowl receipts to the Red Cross to help its efforts in the Persian Gulf.

Johansson said he decided to donate the money when the county liquor board told him he couldn't give away food during the football game.

Patrons were charged a $1 cover fee to watch the game last Sunday, and Johansson gave the money to Jeff Cook of the Carroll County Red Cross.

Cook, a former Red Cross board chairman, said the money would go to a general fund for blood drives, disaster relief and assistance for families of people serving in the military.

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