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West Virginia Businesses Reward Gulf War Families

May 12, 1991

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) _ Military families who scrimped while loved ones fought in the Persian Gulf War are being rewarded with discounted goods and services from stereo equipment to low-interest loans.

West Virginia National Guardsmen and reservists activated for the war are receiving Desert Storm 5,000 discount cards good at more than 300 businesses starting May 18, which is Armed Forces Day, through June 1.

″A lot of our troops don’t make a great deal of money and every little bit can help their families,″ said National Guard spokesman Capt. Ron Garton.

National department stores such as J.C. Penney and Sears will honor the cards, as will small stores like Sodaro’s Electronics in Charleston.

Owner Jerry Sodaro said he expects a lot of people to take advantage of his 10 percent discount on televisions, stereos and other electronic equipment.

″It’s an extremely competitive business and giving away a 10 percent discount will be quite a bit of money for us. But we feel like it’s worth it,″ said Sodaro, who was in the Air National Guard but did not get called to serve overseas.

The amount of the discounts are being left to the businesses, with some going as high as 20 percent.

The program was initiated by Rep. Bob Wise, D-W.Va., whose office fielded calls from families worried about making ends meet on salaries often cut in half when National Guard members and reservists were activated.

The program is being coordinated by the National Guard, the West Virginia Chamber of Commerce and the West Virginia Retailers Association.

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