Hopkins bulletin board pulls employees together over their relatives in the gulf WAR IN THE GULF

Look for Homefront Journal -- a collection of information, local events and Marylanders' efforts around the Persian Gulf war -- daily in the Today section.

Call them the "OR 12."


They are a dozen people with two things in common: They are serving in the Persian Gulf war, and they have relatives who work in Johns Hopkins Hospital's general operating room.

Their pictures are hanging on a yellow-beribboned bulletin board on the eighth floor of the hospital, an effort begun by one employee to lend support to co-workers who share her situation.


"I figured I wasn't the only one who had a child over there, and all I was doing was crying every day. I thought I could maybe do something more constructive," said Sandra Matthews, a nursing assistant whose 21-year-old son, Omar Washington, loads missiles onto jets that leave for bombing sorties from an aircraft carrier in the gulf.

Ms. Matthews said employees often stop and look at the bulletin board, read a poem she wrote to her son, get "misty-eyed" and compare information and letters they've received.

"I feel like I'm not the only one worried about a kid out there," said Ms. Matthews, who refers to the youngest of her two children as her "baby."

The employees who have put pictures on the board are mostly nurses and aides, who are mothers, wives and sisters of men serving in the gulf.

"And this is just people who work here, in this one general operating room," Ms. Matthews said with a sigh.