The Red Cross, the Army and private interests have stepped in to help the wife and children of a Maryland National Guardsman serving in the gulf. They were evicted last week from their Silver Spring apartment because they fell behind in their rent.
On Wednesday, the Red Cross and the Army's family ,6p6,6L assistance program stepped in to help. A motel in Silver Spring offered a room free of charge, and the Rev. Jesse L. Jackson and his Rainbow Coalition chipped in $500.
"I'm really thankful that people are helping me to see about my children," says Damita Fogg, 40. "It makes me want to cry."
"It's going to take us a while to dig out," she says, "but with him back, we can do it."
Fogg and her three children were thrown out of their $819-a-month apartment last Friday after falling three months behind in their rent.
Fogg's husband, John, is a Metro bus driver and a sergeant with the National Guard's 547th Transportation Division in the District of Columbia.
When his unit was called to the gulf in September, the family's income was cut by 75 percent. "It's bad enough that he was gone," Fogg says. "And then everything else fell apart."
In addition to falling behind on her bills, Fogg became ill with diabetes. Two children, ages 3 and 7, also fell ill, one with a severe ear infection, the other with sickle cell anemia.
After seeking aid at military and social service agencies last Friday, Fogg returned home to find her belongings broken and strewn on the sidewalk.
The troops have started to come home from the Persian Gulf, but more than 500,000 are still there, and they're still eager for mail.
And that's why a group of 12 Tiger Cubs -- the rank for the youngest Cub Scouts -- at Grace English Lutheran Church in Lutherville decided to take crayon to hand.
Pack 711 called a gathering last night at the church at 8601 Valleyfield Road to write and decorate cards and letters for 17 servicemen stationed in the gulf.
Joy Yeager, who organized the letter-writing project, said it all started when the scouting planbook suggested an activity based on letter-writing.
Her son, Andy Yeager, 6 1/2 , told his mom that his class at Warren Elementary School had been discussing events in the gulf, and said, "I want to write letters to soldiers in Desert Storm."
So, Mrs. Yeager dropped in on a Rosedale support group meeting and collected the names and addresses of 17 Baltimore-area soldiers serving in the gulf. Each soldier should soon be getting a letter from a Lutherville Tiger.
USAir is offering men and women in the service a break on already-discounted airfares if they decide to fly away on leave after returning from the war zone.
The airline has decided to waive all penalty provisions and advance purchase requirements on all round- trip excursion fares for troops who can show military ID cards and orders or other documentation of their gulf service.
Such excursion fares are already discounted up to 70 percent, the airline says.
Family members can purchase the tickets for the military user in advance by providing the name, rank, Social Security number and military unit of the person who will use the ticket.
The offer is good at least through August.
Frank D. Roylance contributed to this story.
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