Desert Storm vets may apply for funds


National Guard, Army Reserve or Coast Guard members who served in Operation Desert Storm and their families may now obtain funds to help them pay for job preparation and education courses, Red Cross officials have announced.

Up to $175 per household is available to qualified veterans of the Middle Eastern conflict. The funds may be applied to a variety of vocational and technical training courses, ranging from automotive repair to computer operation, drafting and carpentry.

To be eligible for the funds, a Reserve, Coast Guard or National Guard member or their spouse must demonstrate a lack of current employment, underemployment or a decrease in income attributable to participation in Desert Storm.

The assistance is generally available to one individual in each family, but if both spouses served, both may apply. Full-time reservists or those still serving in the National Guard are not eligible.

The new job-training effort known as the Persian Gulf Family Support Program, is being administered nationally by the American Red Cross and funded by the Defense Department. The program also provides limited reimbursement for verifiable adult or child day-care expenses, as well as family, marital, budget or crisis counseling.

All cases will remain confidential and will not be reviewed by the Defense Department. For more information about the program, veterans or their families can call the Central Maryland Red Cross at 764-4627 for an appointment.

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