Operation: Home Ties is an ongoing volunteer mission by portrait artist, Gina Johnson, from Woburn, MA honoring the memory of ALL our fallen servicemen and women, starting with those who have ties to Massachusetts and served since 9/11/01, by replacing each name with a detailed pencil Memory Portrait, presenting the original portrait to their family and sharing the images on a Traveling Tribute Wall called “Faces of Remembrance” as a grateful reminder that we remain land of the free because of our brave.
Article for Our Veterans From Last Nights Conference Call
The Proud: 12-year old boy becomes honorary Marine before he dies
Published June 14, 2012
Cody Green, who was diagnosed with leukemia at 22 months old, but battled bravely until his death last month, had always admired the strength and courage of the Marines, his father, David Snowberger, told WTOP.
When USMC officials learned of the boy's “strength, honor and courage” battling his health condition, his father told an Indiana-based television station, they made him an honorary member of the Marines, complete with his own navigator wings.
For one Marine, however, there was more to be done.
The night before Green died, the Marine stood guard at his hospital door the entire night, eight hours straight, Snowberger told WTOP.
Green had successfully battled cancer three times since he was diagnosed and was cancer-free. Unfortunately, the chemotherapy weakened his immune system and he died from a fungus that attacked his brain.
On Memorial Day, remember the living, too
Contra Costa Times editorial
© Copyright 2011, Bay Area News Group
Posted: 05/27/2012 04:00:00 PM PDT
The solemn purpose of Memorial Day can be obscured by the three-day weekend's tradition of welcoming summer. Particularly in times of peace, the memories the day calls upon are as likely to be about how to keep grilled chicken moist as they are about the men and women who have died for America, from the Revolutionary through the past century's world wars, Korea and Vietnam battles and the first invasion of Iraq.
This is not a time of peace. American troops still are dying in Afghanistan. As U.S. withdrawal looms, chaos weaves back into the fabric of this troubled country, just as it has in Iraq, where some U.S. troops remain.
For thousands of Americans, Memorial Day is solemn and personal. Besides the families and hometown friends of the fallen, there are the thousands of men and women who served beside them -- their friends and colleagues, or perhaps strangers who were doing the very job they do, making each death as personal as if it were a brother.
This is not memorializing, really. It is now. So include in your thoughts those who fight on -- or who have returned with battle scars, mental and physical, they will carry for life. Think how you can show gratitude that they've returned alive and not as names on a memorial, however hallowed. Think if there's a way you might help them readjust.
Digital First Media's "American Homecomings" series on the Web is following the lives of returning veterans over the next year. The
Advertisement project draws on reporting throughout Digital First, the operating company that includes MediaNews Group, the owner of Bay Area News Group papers. "American Homecomings" is not a snapshot in time. It's dynamic, changing at the speed of life and including not just stories but video, photographs, interactive features and links to blogs, books, documentaries and on and on. There's a searchable database created by Warrior Gateway for veterans' services from counseling to job placement.
And -- here's the Memorial Day link -- it provides space for anyone to write remembrances of loved ones, or for veterans to share their memories.
Last week, this newspaper published an essay by former San Jose Mercury News editorial page editor Stephen E. Wright on his son, Staff Sgt. Dylan Wright, now in a third tour of duty in a war zone -- this time, Afghanistan. Wright poignantly captures the complex emotions of families such as his.
This Memorial Day, devote a moment of silence or prayer to those who have given their lives, from Lexington and Concord in 1775 to the three young soldiers from Dylan Wright's squadron who died in Afghanistan just weeks ago.
But also think of those who fight on.
Of Memorial Days, and Sons and Daughters
By Bingham C. Jamison, CFA | May 25, 2012 |
With the holiday upon us, a friend recently asked me how I planned to teach my children about the importance of Memorial Day. As a former Marine and veteran of two tours to Iraq, the question surprisingly caught me off guard. I have written extensively about war and its cruel influence on those who waged it, but the concept of passing the difficult lessons I learned in Iraq on to my children has only rarely crossed my mind. It’s not that I want to keep things from my family.
My oldest child is a preschooler, and so until recently my kids have been too young to grasp the concept of patriotism. My son is only 18 months old and surely too young to understand, but my three-and-a-half year old daughter, a precocious beauty wise beyond her years, has already developed a strong capacity for empathy. She may not yet truly understand the meaning of the flag, or why we place our hand on our heart when we listen to the National Anthem at a ballgame, but somehow she knows that if Daddy cries during ”The Star-Spangled Banner” it’s because he misses his friends.
Without fail, when the anthem invokes an emotional response from me, she asks me to pick her up at the end of the song, and she kisses the tears from my cheek. Embarrassed, I tell her that the tears are Heaven’s raindrops helping wash away Daddy’s sadness. Although she’s never at a loss for questions, thankfully my explanation always seems to suffice.
So now that Memorial Day is here, how do I teach my daughter that the holiday is about much more than just barbecues and American music? About more than fireworks and festivals?
Before I got myself sober, Memorial Day was always a day of drunken mourning; a day to wallow in guilt and anguish for surviving when others did not. It was a day of morbid reflection, the anticipation of which haunted me for weeks ahead of time. I was wholly consumed by my twisted thoughts and emotions. I avoided interaction altogether, and generally forced myself to watch war movies because somehow I felt obligated to relive the sense of combat, as if to pay homage to my fallen comrades.
Luckily for my sake, and now my daughter’s, I am sober and able to address the concept of Memorial Day in an entirely different, more productive and rewarding manner. I advocate on veterans’ issues, and serve as an advisor to Veterans Healing Initiative, a nonprofit that helps veterans access treatment for addiction and PTSD.
For far too long I hijacked Memorial Day and made it about me. But Memorial Day isn’t about me. It’s about remembering and honoring those who never made it home. It is the formal holiday that reminds us that every day is independence day; as the motto goes, the home of the free because of the brave.
So this year I will teach my daughter about Memorial Day by doing, not lamenting. Perhaps we will plant a flag at the gravesite of a fallen warrior, or perhaps we will attend a parade or a speech. Perhaps I will invite my close group of friends, all fellow combat veterans, to share the day with my family and me. Or perhaps I can teach her the words to the National Anthem or the Pledge of Allegiance.
I can honor those who didn’t make it home by embracing their legacy. I can teach my daughter about patriotism, about loving our country, by showing her my devotion to and respect for those who have gone before us.
May we all be so fortunate as to have the opportunity to pass on what we love about our nation to our children. May every generation never forget the valiant warriors who sacrificed on their behalf. And for the kids too young to remember the wars, and the significance of the supreme sacrifice they represent for the rest of us, may their parents take the time on this, and every Memorial Day, to explain.
This is the article we promised to post for you today..GREAT ARTICLE ABOUT ONE MOM AND VETERANS
Friday, January 20th, 2012 | Posted by Ken Smith
Connecting the Military Dots
“The Little 12-year old girl was looking at her Dad laying in a bed at the VA hospital. “Don’t ever forget me”, he said to her. I won’t Dad, she answered, ever.” by Ken Smith West LA Veterans Hospital
She walked onto the campus of the West LA Veterans Hospital in her Anne Taylor outfit and instantly could feel her throat tighten. “You OK Ma’am?” said one of the VA tour guides, a young male half her age. There with other tour guides culled from the staff of the Director of the hospital to ensure that each VIP attendee found the right building and they also would be available to answer any questions that attendees might have before the planned tour of the new special housing unit. As she was walking down the sidewalk towards the event, out of the corner of her eye she saw the main administration building and for the first time, for the very first time, she understood what “flashback” meant to all those military veterans who had talked to her about their experiences in war. She could actually see herself standing in this exact same spot, what? So long ago in her memory, it was what, a few decades ago? OMG, It didn’t matter to her she thought, what mattered at this very moment was she was here again, here at the West LA Veterans Hospital, the very same place she had come to visit her dad who had spent months at a time as a surgical in-patient for each of his dozen or so operations.
She closed her eyes for a brief moment and she could see him laying in his bed, and she could smell his after shave. It was the special way that he looked at her with his deep blue eyes that she remembered the most. She caught herself reaching for a tissue just as a tear dropped from her left eye, and again, the tour operator said “Ma’am, you OK?” and she brushed him off with a wave of her hand. ”I’m fine, it’s just the pollen in the air” she said. As she continued her walk, she then saw a veteran in a wheelchair, and sitting next to him was a little girl, maybe 12, maybe 13 years old. This time the flashback came stronger. ”Remember, her Dad said to her”, “Remember the sacrifices that American veterans have made for our country” and “Don’t ever forget that I will love you forever he said”. She was now standing next to his bed with the strong smell of antiseptic everywhere, and there were other veterans sharing the same room as her dad, and she promised herself right then and there, she would never forget.
Fast forward to today. Today, this sharp, smart, grizzled veterans advocate has continued to do exactly what she promised herself to do so many years ago at that VA hospital. She has remembered the sacrifices of American veterans and has rolled up her sleeves and done something about it.
I was talking to this advocate as she was sitting in a hotel room in southern California, and she had some time to reminisce about her dad, her work, (her husband) the love of her life, and the biggest challenge of her life, her son who is in college.
You know Ken, she said, It wasn’t that long ago that I was working on a free concert here at Camp Pendleton for the military families of the men who were deployed in Afghanistan and Iraq. That was what? Three years ago? Five years ago? God, I don’t remember. But anyway, this concert was a blast, and you should have seen the eyes of the kids in attendance, who for just a little while, maybe an hour or two, they could forget that their dad or mom was in a combat zone half way across the world and they could just have some fun, like kids.
Now, this veterans advocate seldom speaks about herself. Actually, if you dig a little like I did, you would find she is actually a little shy about talking about herself. Here are a few things about her before I say who she is.
“Only 1% of Americans serve in the military. The other 99% have a responsibility to take care of our veterans when they return home.”
This quote is straight from the advocate’s lips, this visionary businesswoman who has created a clearinghouse for every resource, opportunity, and fact that any solider, sailor, airman or marine will EVER NEED.
This advocate has made serving America’s veterans her life’s work, because she knows personally the sacrifices brave men and women make for their country. She is the niece of one of the “Fighting Grossmans,” Carl Grossman, the only one still alive. There were actually ten Grossman brothers, one being her dad. Eight of them marched into the service together in World War II, six saw combat, all returned home safe and sound. Of the two brothers too old to serve? One of those helped create the Atom Bomb. So unusual was it for almost an entire family to enlist, that President Roosevelt sent a thank you note to their mother!
The Grossman family “trust of heroes” is a genuine part of American history. Seventy years later, this advocate continues on as the next generation of the family serving America. Her brilliant “go-to” website has answers to any question any serviceman or woman could ever need. If you want to find a golf course that gives veteran discounts, go to MilitaryConnection.com. If you want to learn about health benefits for veterans, about jobs, school loans and veteran benefits, or even calculate your hazard pay, it’s all waiting, conveniently and easy to access on www.militaryconnection.com.
“I know what it is like living this life she told me. When the veterans come back, they have sacrificed everything. A lot of them don’t know what resources are available to them,” . MilitaryConnection.com solves that problem. It’s a woman-owned small business located in Simi Valley, California, near the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. The business was founded in 1999 to help veterans and their families. MilitaryConnection.com has eight thousand unique visitors every day, has built a database of 800,000 soldiers and their families. Over 90,000 are Tweeting about the valuable information on the site!
“Veterans make wonderful employees and are wonderful entrepreneurs,” So, in her spare time she also founded the Veterans and Military Business Owners Association (VAMBOA) to provide “networking, collaboration, mentoring, education, certification and advocacy” to veteran and military business owners. Especially this year, as tens of thousands of soldiers return from service in Iraq, veterans will need jobs and training. MilitaryConnection helps link servicemen and women with the resources to help them take next steps in their lives
As you might expect the success of MilitaryConnection has helped it to be recognized as one of the Top 100 Employment web sites on the Internet. This advocate was awarded the Company of the Year in East Ventura County (California), Spirit of Small Business for 2011.
As the 12 telephone lines in her busy, lean business office ring off the hook each day, she is tireless in using her ingenuity and dogged commitment to serve America’s heroes. Every time a wounded soldier, a vet suffering with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder or a wife starving for information about how to keep military benefits finds the answer they’re looking for, she receives the kind of pay that doesn’t fit into an envelope. She can feel her dad smile at her.
This is Debbie Gregory folks. We Salute you Ma’am. Keep it up.
Veterans Advocate Debbie Gregory
THE IQD TEAM SALUTES YOU TOO DEBBIE GREGORY
FOR OUR VETERANS
Service dogs are bridge to normalcy for wounded
WILLIAM H. McMICHAEL, The News Journal of Wilmington
Published 12:07 p.m., Thursday, May 10, 2012
DELAWARE CITY, Del. (AP) — Like many soldiers, military policeman Jeremy Muncert saw unspeakable horrors during his Iraq War deployment. Muncert spent his 15-month tour training local police. When insurgents kidnapped senior department officials, as often happened, he and his fellow soldiers would be given the often-terrifying task of going door to door to find them.
Muncert saw a lot of action. He lost some buddies. And like an estimated 14 percent to 21 percent of all service members returning from the wars there and in Afghanistan -- some say those numbers are low due to underreporting -- he was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.
A week after his September 2009 return to his home base in Hawaii, Muncert was riding in a sport utility vehicle traveling at 70 mph when it crashed. Muncert had to be pried out of the wreckage, and nearly died. The collision left him with a metal rod for a right leg, legally blind, no sense of taste or smell and a traumatic brain injury. That's on top of the PTSD.
Muncert, 22, lives with Sue and Jeff, his parents, in Clayton, N.C. For the past eight months, however, he's also had a companion who literally helps him stay on his feet: Page, his 14-month-old Great Dane service dog.
"I love her," said Muncert during a May 4 dinner gathering of veterans and dogs at a Delaware City restaurant. "She not only helps me be more steady, she makes me feel safe."
Page, seated to his right, her black-and-white head level with the table, leaned up and nuzzled Muncert. "You're a good girl," he said affectionately, giving her a hug.
Page wasn't purchased. She was a gift from Paws and People Assisting Wounded Warriors, or PPAWWS, a group founded 18 months ago by two Marine Corps spouses concerned about the high number of troops coming home from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan with PTSD.
The service dogs are a bridge to normalcy in ways both tangible -- say, calming them during panic attacks, or fetching a medicine bag -- and subtle, the veterans say.
"I used to be depressed," Muncert said. "I'm definitely a lot stronger now than before."
Co-founder Laura Westerfield of Jacksonville, N.C., a Great Dane breeder, came to Delaware City last week with her husband, Steve, a retired master sergeant, to meet with Muncert, his parents and Page; Janet Austin, of Delaware City, the group's Northeast outreach coordinator, her husband, Bill, and J.P., his service dog of 12 months; and Brantley Cargill of Auburn, Ala., a former Navy Reserve master-at-arms who had received his service dog, Cadence, the previous day.
All the men have been diagnosed with severe PTSD.
A nearby diner couldn't have missed the huge, gentle dogs. And the initial dinnertime banter, flowing easily as it often can among veterans, would have yielded no clue to the problems the veterans share.
"Mr. Bill, were you in the Coast Guard?" Muncert asked Austin, a retired Army master sergeant seated at the other end of the long table.
"Naw, he was just jerking your cord," Westerfield interjected.
Austin couldn't resist a playful interservice jab at Westerfield. "He's just mad because they wouldn't give him anything sharper than a Twinkie to play with," he said with a laugh.
But the jokes vanish when Cargill, seated beside Austin, begins telling a visitor about the incident that marked the onset of his PTSD.
Cargill softly recounts being shot by and then shooting and killing a suspect while on local police duty during a 2003 domestic disturbance in Auburn, Ala., followed by a 2005 deployment spent shuttling prisoners from the Iraq war zone to Kuwait and back to the U.S. Austin, a veteran of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, joins in, his eyes welling with tears as he icily describes the difficulty he's encountered in seeking treatment.
It's like a switch was flipped.
The condition, while treatable, is widely misunderstood, the veterans say.
"People need to know that PTSD is not a weakness," Cargill said. "It's not something where you can suck it up and go on."
Below is the article we read last night for The Veterans and their families..
Film industry unites to support vets with "Got Your 6" initiative
Topics Movies , Celebrity (CBS/AP) Hollywood's power players, who are often rivals when it comes to fighting for fair contracts, hot scripts and top talent, are uniting in their support for American veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.
Movie studios, TV networks, talent agencies and the entertainment unions, together with a host of nonprofit groups, have created the "Got Your 6" initiative, a multipronged effort to support military veterans and their families.
"It's an opportunity for all of us," said Universal Studios chief Ron Meyer, who announced the campaign Wednesday. "I can't think of anything more important than supporting the troops that are coming back from active service."
More than a million veterans from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are expected to return to the U.S. over the next five years, said Chris Marvin, director of Got Your 6.
"Got your six" is military lingo, an expression of solidarity that means "I've got your back and I know you've got mine," Marvin said.
Through scripted story lines, celebrity public service announcements and employment and education outreach, Got Your 6 aims to ease veterans' return to civilian life by encouraging Americans to recognize them as valuable community leaders.
The effort was inspired by Michelle Obama's Joining Forces campaign and conceived with the support of the Clinton Global Initiative.
"The entertainment industry captures our imaginations, opens our eyes and touches our hearts, and I'm proud to work with them on our Joining Forces initiative," the first lady said in a statement Wednesday.
"By sharing the stories of strength and resilience that define our military families, we can motivate even more Americans to honor these courageous individuals in new ways."
Public service announcements featuring stars, including Tom Hanks, Alec Baldwin, Sarah Jessica Parker and Michael Douglas, will begin airing Thursday, and the industry's commitment to Got Your 6 is ongoing.
Among the elements of the campaign is a promise from Disney and Comcast to hire 1,000 veterans apiece.
Sounds of the sea soften memories for veterans
By AUDRA D.S. BURCH The Miami Herald
KEY LARGO — The healing began on two, 30-foot wooden boats modeled after those used by merchant mariners of World War II. Twenty veterans — returned from Iraq or Afghanistan or both, some with post-traumatic stress disorder — spent six days on the vessels, sailing the sounds and bays and passes of the Upper Keys.
On the Outward Bound expedition for veterans, the former soldiers learned how to sail a boat. They fished. They bonded. And they talked about what it means to be part of two wars that have raged more than a decade. Somehow, the quiet of the sea softens the memories of war.
“It’s not therapy, but therapeutic,” said Stephen Summers, an Outward Bound course director who helped coordinate the Florida trip. “They learn new skills, make new friends and have those conversations they need to have about war and coming home. They have been in wars fought overseas and when they return, those experiences are not something they can really explain, it’s just something that those who have been understand. In a way, they create a whole new community.”
The veterans are bound together by service to the country and war experiences that range from losing a friend in a roadside bomb in Ramadi to securing the bridges of Fallujah. Each returning soldier suffers in some way from the wrath of war, but the veterans-only week on Florida’s waters — or canoeing in the Everglades or spending time in another peaceful outdoor setting — is designed to ease some of the stresses of returning to civilian life: unemployment, mental and physical injuries, failed relationships. Emotionally, veterans often feel isolated and face bouts of sleeplessness and depression.
“The transition back is difficult, especially for young vets,’’ said SFC Kris Holmgren, 48, of the Massachusetts Army National Guard, who completed four tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan and returned for good in February. As the oldest and highest ranking member of the group, he became a mentor to some of the younger veterans on the trip. “This was an opportunity to check out of the real world for a while.”
Outward Bound is an adventure-based educational organization first created during World War II to train young merchant marine sailors how to survive the rigors of life at sea during wartime. In 1986, an extension of the program was offered free to veterans and was expanded in 2007 to accommodate the thousands returning from Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. Since then, the nonprofit organization has partnered with author Sebastian Junger to help promote the program. Junger’s experience as a journalist embedded in the military while on assignment for Vanity Fair, eventually became the 2010 Oscar-nominated documentary, Restrepo. Outward Bound sponsored 13 veterans in 2007. The 2012 goal: 600 veterans.
Today, 12 outdoor courses, financed through corporate and private donations, are offered in remote locations across the country — dog sledding in northern Minnesota, rafting in Utah, kayaking around Mississippi’s barrier islands. In Florida, along with the sailing course, a canoeing trip is offered in the Everglades.
The idea is to offer a safe space for veterans to bond, engage in honest discussions about the challenges of reintegrating and, perhaps, make self-discoveries. Organizers hope that by the time the trip ends, the veterans have been restored in some way.
“The thing about combat is that you have a small group of people who are completely inter-reliant on each other in a very difficult environment. And once you get used to being in a small group like that, where you really can count on everyone else’s help and support in the very worse kind of circumstances … actually, it’s very hard to give it up.
“And a lot of soldiers actually miss the war that they were in. Not that they miss war, but they miss being in a small group where they feel so safely protected by their brothers and sisters,’’ Junger said in a video shown during an Outward Bound dinner in October. “Outward Bound is able to re-create that environment except in a noncombat setting in the wilderness.’’
American Homecomings: Project chronicles the experiences of veterans returning from war
By Gary Peterson
Contra Costa Times Posted: 04/30/2012 04:52:14 PM PDT
Updated: 05/01/2012 04:48:54 AM PDT
They came from cities and towns all across the United States. They enlisted in the military and served our country in Iraq and Afghanistan in various brigades, battalions and companies. Now they're home.
They're not necessarily the same people who went to war. Some have returned with physical infirmities, some with emotional issues. Some are moving on from shattered relationships. They all have stories to tell.
Those stories will be shared, starting today, in the American Homecomings project presented by the Bay Area News Group and other Digital First Media newspapers and websites across the country. American Homecomings will chronicle the lives of veterans across the country to examine how soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan are reclaiming their lives and how America treats its heroes.
Their stories will be told both in print and digitally at www.americanhomecomings.com -- a website that launches today and will feature photos, video and blogs, and, via project partner Warrior Gateway, a searchable database for veterans services.
The featured returnees are a diverse cross-section of America. Locally, the Bay Area News Group will tell the story of Army veteran and Oakland resident Emily Yates, who is channeling the frustration and anger she experienced during two tours in Iraq with the 3rd Infantry Division into her studies at UC Berkeley, social activism and writing, recording and performing songs on the ukulele -- and sometimes the banjo. Look for the first installment of her story in early June. Contact Gary Peterson at 925-952-5053. Follow him at Twitter.com/garyscribe.
ABOUT AMERICAN HOMECOMINGS
merican Homecomings tells the story of soldiers after the war. It was created as a way to share veterans’ stories as they return home, provide the latest news relevant to veterans and offer connections to resources for vets that have been checked and verified.
The site is a product of Digital First Media which operates Digital First Ventures, MediaNews Group and Journal Register Company with more than 800 digital and print products in 18 states serving 57 million customers per month.
Content for American Homecomings is produced by Digital First newspapers in partnership with Warrior Gateway’s GI Network and the University of Colorado’s Digital News Test Kitchen.
Three Great Projects on this Website:
CU Denver, chamber launch "Boots to Suits" for vets returning to job market
Program finds foster homes for pets of deployed military
WWII veteran fighting to help his homeless comrades
More to come on how we can help in our areas.......If you want to help or have some ideas contact Debbie at firstname.lastname@example.org
Cell Phones for Soldiers Poised for Second Act in Reverse Legacy Apr 19, 2012
Written by Louis Altman Created on Wednesday, 18 April 2012 14:00
Source: Patriot Ledger
The nonprofit Cell Phones for Soldiers collects more than 100,000 cell phones for recycling monthly, with proceeds paying for cell phone minutes for those serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. The idea came about one morning in 2004 when two Norwell, Mass. seventh graders, siblings Brittany and Robbie Bergquist, caught a news feature about a Natick, Mass. soldier who had racked up a $7,500 cell phone bill calling home from the Iraqi warfront. The kids sprang into action that day and exhorted schoolmates to fork over their snack money to help pay for the soldier’s bill. They didn’t collect enough to buy so much as a few Extra Value meals at McDonalds, but they returned home and the Bergquist family, parents Bob and Gail included, dreamed up a venture to provide American soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan with cell phones with prepaid minutes.
The original Cell Phones for Soldiers plan—to mail phones to soldiers abroad—fell flat after the Pentagon nixed the notion because of safety issues. Fearless and enterprising, the Bergquists soon discovered a workable strategy to collect discarded cell phones, sell them to a recycler, and use the resulting funds to purchase cell phone minutes for soldiers at base phone banks. The younger Bergquists were instant media darlings, and over the next eight years, their pet project produced astounding numbers; Cell Phones for Soldiers has become a multi-million dollar nonprofit serving 600,000 soldiers annually. To date, it has provided over 150 million minutes of talk time paid for by the recycling of over 10 million cell phones and corporate donations, with approximately 100,000 more used phones collected every month.
Bob and Gail are now planning to retire from long teaching careers to run Cell Phones for Soldiers on a full-time basis. Their kids have flown the nest and are contemplating post-graduate careers in nonprofit management. Hemmed in by news vans, classmates initially teased the young entrepreneurs as the “cell phone kids”, and now, as public figures, they have to watch what they say via social media and the world at large. But they don’t plan to stand down as the troops in Iraq and Afghanistan are returning. Instead, they hope to launch a venture this summer that they are calling “Helping Heroes Home,” which will connect returning soldiers—particularly those with injuries or those suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder—with free phone access. Bob Bergquist says, “We just want to make sure we still care for them after they come home...they’re still our heroes, even if they’re not on foreign soil.” The Bergquists have $180,000 in seed money for the new venture from AT&T. Nonprofit Quarterly wishes the Bergquist family good luck with their second act in serving the nation’s soldiers, this time on the home front. –Louis Altman
Help Our Troops Call Home Cell Phones for Soldiers is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing deployed and returning troops cost-free methods to communicate with family while serving in the United States military.
Request FREE Talk Time for Troops Send American heroes free means of communication by providing an APO address below. To request calling cards for a deployed service member, please fill out and submit the forms below.
http://www.cellphonesforsoldiers.com/request_calling_card.php Set Up a Drop-Off Site or Limited Time Drive Calling all businesses, schools, civic groups and organizations to become an official collector for Cell Phones for Soldiers.
Collections can be private for members or employees of your organization or public for walk-in traffic to drop off cell phones during regular business hours.
Please show your support for the brave service men and women risking their lives to keep America safe! Refer to the frequently asked questions and answers for additional details.
DONATE A PHONE INSTRUCTIONS: http://cellphonesforsoldiers.recellular.com/shippinglabel-generic.html