NEWS & MEDIA

CELL PHONES FOR SOLDIERS Media

Bay Area Companies Join Forces to Rescue Old Phones

Cell Phones for Soldiers is very blessed by the support we receive from individuals, organizations and companies across the United States. For the past month we have enjoyed working with the California-based company, Lookout Mobile Security, and their Mobile Rescue Squad. We are pleased to share a blog they put together with the results of their recent Bay Area collection for the charity!

Last week, Lookout’s Mobile Rescue Squad took to the streets in pursuit of old, unwanted mobile phones – and we came back with a pile of them! Why you ask?

Troops abroad aren’t always able to call home for free, so we teamed up with Cell Phones for Soldiers to help our troops overseas connect with their families during the holidays. We weren’t alone in our efforts. Exciting Bay Area companies, including Twitter, LinkedIn, Hot Studio, Square, AirBnB, Pandora, Kiva, EA, Jawbone, Github all contributed to the cause by donating their old, unused phones.

This collaborative effort resulted in the donation of hundreds of phones, equating to 11,580 minutes of free talk time for U.S. troops abroad.

Minutes of free talktime donated

Cell Phones for Soldiers’ founders Brittany and Robbie Bergquist wanted to personally thank the Bay Area companies who participated in the phone drive.

November 17, 2015

ONTARIO PARKWAY KIWANIS COLLECTS ITS 4,000TH PHONE IN SUPPORT OF CELL PHONES FOR SOLDIERS


KiwanisONTARIO, Cali.
 (Nov. 10) Just in time for Veterans Day, the Ontario Parkway Kiwanis are proud to announce a milestone in its mission to support America’s bravest. In a little more than five years the volunteer organization recently donated its 4,000th gently-used cellphone to the national nonprofit Cell Phones For Soldiers.

Under the leadership of Ken Morse, the Kiwanis work with 32 public drop-off sites to support its mission. Since 2011, the group’s support has provided more than 392,000 minutes of free talk time for troops and veterans to connect with loved ones.

“Literally these troops are giving everything they have and sometimes they don’t come home,” said Ken Morse. “When you went to bed last night, you slept good because you don’t have the same worries as our deployed troops. The least we can do is to send a free calling card to help them connect with their loved ones back home. That’s why we continue to serve our military members with this project each year.”

Cell Phones For Soldiers was founded in 2004 by teenagers Robbie and Brittany Bergquist at the ages of 12 and 13 after they heard the story of a local soldier with an almost $8,000 cell phone bill. They decided to help this one man with just $21 of their own money and Cell Phones For Soldiers was born from there.

The charity has since provided more than 216 million minutes of free talk time to servicemen and women stationed around the world through its calling card program, Minutes That Matter. Funds raised from the recycling of cellular phones are used to purchase prepaid international calling cards. On average, Cell Phones For Soldiers distributes 1,500 calling cards each week to bases around the world, care package programs, deployment ceremonies and VA hospitals.

“Each year we have been humbled by the amount of people and organizations like Ken Morse and the Ontario Parkway Kiwanis that take the initiative to support our military members,” said co-founder Robbie Bergquist. “The continued support and patriotism from Ken and his fellow Kiwanis allows Cell Phones For Soldiers to continue to provide free means of communication to our troops and veterans.”

For every donated phone valued at $5, Cell Phones For Soldiers is able to provide two and a half hours of free talk time to deployed troops.

Since 2004, more than 11.7 million phones have been recycled or repurposed. Approximately half of the phones processed are reconditioned and reused. Phones and components that cannot be refurbished are dismantled and responsibly recycled to reclaim materials, including:

  • Gold, silver and platinum from circuit boards
  • Copper wiring from phone chargers
  • Nickel, iron, cadmium and lead from battery packs

For more information, please visit www.cellphonesforsoldiers.com.

 ABOUT CELL PHONES FOR SOLDIERS INC.

Cell Phones For Soldiers Inc. is a national nonprofit dedicated to serving troops and veterans with free communication services and emergency funding. Founded in 2004 by Robbie and Brittany Bergquist, then 12 and 13 years old, Cell Phones For Soldiers has provided more than 216 million “Minutes That Matter” to servicemen and women. Since 2012, “Helping Heroes Home” has provided emergency funds for more than 2,800 veterans to alleviate communication challenges as well as physical, emotional and assimilation hardships. For more information, visit www.cellphonesforsoldiers.com,

Media Contacts:

Erin McCloskey

ASPIRE Communications for Cell Phones For Soldiers

(336) 207-5222

[email protected]

Ken Morse

Ontario Parkway Kiwanis

(909) 731-5571

[email protected]

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November 12, 2015

CELL PHONES FOR SOLDIERS AND AT&T EQUIP VETERANS AT UNION GOSPEL MISSION WITH FREE PHONES AND SERVICE

Union Gospel MissionDALLAS (Nov. 11, 2015) – On Nov. 11 as the country celebrates Veterans Day, Cell Phones For Soldiers and AT&T continued its mission of connecting America’s bravest to the people they love and to the opportunities they deserve.

Cell Phones For Soldiers, a national nonprofit focused on the communication needs of troops and veterans, and long-time supporter AT&T donated 200 calling cards and cellphones with one year of AT&T service to veterans staying at the Union Gospel Mission in Dallas.

In addition to the needed communication tools, more than 40 volunteers prepared and served meals for the veteran residents and assisted with facility tasks, such as cleaning, painting and gardening.

Since 1949, the Union Gospel Mission has provided housing services to homeless veterans, supporting up to 54 at a time.

“We had the honor of working with Union Gospel Mission in 2014 and saw firsthand the tremendous work they do with veterans,” said Robbie Bergquist, co-founder of Cell Phones For Soldiers. “These communication tools are truly a lifeline to reconnect with family and provide a veteran with a personal phone number for potential employers to call.”

“Our Veterans have our deepest gratitude for the service they have given on behalf of all Americans and those around the world that love freedom,” said William Thompson, Executive Director of the Union Gospel Mission of Dallas. “We must be sure to make available to them the best we have to offer.  The ability to connect by phone to loved ones, jobs, well-deserved benefits and future opportunity is one small expression of our appreciation.  God bless our Vets!”

AT&T is committed to serving the communities where it operates, and in 2014 alone, employees and retirees volunteered more than 5.6 million hours of time in their communities. Since 2007, AT&T, the AT&T Foundation and AT&T’s customers have donated more than $4.6 million to support Cell Phones For Soldiers.

For 11 years, Cell Phones For Soldiers has served as a lifeline for America’s bravest. Its Helping Heroes Home program provides one-time emergency needs to help veterans transition to post-combat life. From cellphones to use for job searches, to computers for communication with family, these tools assist in the fight to improve the lives of veterans.

For more information, please visit www.cellphonesforsoldiers.com.

Media Contacts:

Erin McCloskey                                                                       Adriana Bernal

Cell Phones For Soldiers                                                         AT&T Public Affairs

[email protected]                                             [email protected]

(336) 207-5222                                                                                   (512) 457-2380

ABOUT CELL PHONES FOR SOLDIERS INC.

Cell Phones For Soldiers is a national nonprofit dedicated to providing cost-free communication services to active-duty military members and veterans. Founded in 2004 by Robbie and Brittany Bergquist, then 12 and 13 years old, Cell Phones For Soldiers has provided more than 216 million “Minutes That Matter” to servicemen and women. Since 2012, “Helping Heroes Home” has provided emergency funds for more than 2,800 veterans to alleviate communication challenges as well as physical, emotional and assimilation hardships. For more information, visit www.cellphonesforsoldiers.com, Facebook, TwitterGoogle+Pinterest

 About Community Engagement at AT&T

At AT&T, Community Engagement means engaging our employees to build healthy, connected and thriving communities where we live and do business. Employees are focused on three key issues: improving educational outcomes, building sustainable communities and promoting the responsible use of technology. Last year, AT&T employees and retirees volunteered more than 5.6 million hours of time in community outreach activities worth more than $126 million and pledged more than $36 million for charities of their choice through employee giving. Employees also committed to more than 47,000 sustainable choices through Do One Thing (DOT), which invites employees to make small, everyday choices that add up to a big positive impact for themselves, the community and/or the company.

 

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CELL PHONES FOR SOLDIERS AND AT&T CELEBRATE VETERANS AT BLUE BUTTERFLY VILLAGE ON NOV. 11

BBV 17San Pedro, Calif. (Nov.11, 2015) – On Nov. 11 as the country celebrates Veterans Day, Cell Phones For Soldiers (CPFS) and AT&T helped connect America’s bravest to the people they love and to the opportunities they deserve in day of service and giving at Volunteer of America’s Blue Butterfly Village, a 73 unit townhouse community providing services to homeless veterans in San Pedro.

Cell Phones For Soldiers (CPFS), a national nonprofit focused on the communication needs of troops and veterans, and long-time supporter AT&T donated 200 donated calling cards, cell phones with service and needed household items including sheets, towels and cleaning supplies to benefit resident veterans.  In addition to the needed donations, AT&T and CPFS employee volunteers cleaned outdoor areas, gardened and started seeds in the greenhouse.

“The donations for Blue Butterfly Village are critical needs for our veterans,” said Robbie Bergquist, co-founder of Cell Phones For Soldiers. “We are honored to provide this support with AT&T and look forward to continuing our mission of providing a lifeline for America’s bravest.”

“Staying connected with family, friends and opportunities is especially important for homeless veterans,” said Ken McNeely, President AT&T California. “This Veteran’s Day, AT&T is proud to join Cell Phones for Soldiers in donating calling cards and other supplies to help make those connections possible for more veterans. We thank and salute the residents of Blue Butterfly Village, and all those who have served.”

“We are encouraged by the support of Cell Phones For Soldiers, AT&T and its employees”, said Bob Pratt, president of Volunteers of America Los Angeles. “Solving the problem of homelessness among veterans is a national priority that will take public and private entries coming together to offer housing and services for our heroes.”

AT&T is committed to serving the communities where it operates, and in 2014 alone, employees and retirees volunteered more than 5.6 million hours of time in their communities. Since 2007, AT&T, the AT&T Foundation and AT&T’s customers have donated more than $4.6 million to support Cell Phones For Soldiers.

For 11 years, Cell Phones For Soldiers has served as a lifeline for America’s bravest. Its Helping Heroes Home program provides one-time emergency needs to help veterans transition to post-combat life. From cellphones to use for job searches, to computers for communication with family, these tools assist in the fight to improve the lives of veterans.

For more information, please visit www.cellphonesforsoldiers.com.

Media Contacts:

Erin McCloskey                                                                       Elizabeth Valles

Cell Phones For Soldiers                                                        AT&T

[email protected]                                         [email protected]

(336) 207-5222                                                                       (310) 425-2075

 

ABOUT CELL PHONES FOR SOLDIERS INC.

Cell Phones For Soldiers is a national nonprofit dedicated to providing cost-free communication services to active-duty military members and veterans. Founded in 2004 by Robbie and Brittany Bergquist, then 12 and 13 years old, Cell Phones For Soldiers has provided more than 216 million “Minutes That Matter” to servicemen and women. Since 2012, “Helping Heroes Home” has provided emergency funds for more than 2,800 veterans to alleviate communication challenges as well as physical, emotional and assimilation hardships. For more information, visit www.cellphonesforsoldiers.com, Facebook, TwitterGoogle+Pinterest

About Community Engagement at AT&T

At AT&T, Community Engagement means engaging our employees to build healthy, connected and thriving communities where we live and do business. Employees are focused on three key issues: improving educational outcomes, building sustainable communities and promoting the responsible use of technology. Last year, AT&T employees and retirees volunteered more than 5.6 million hours of time in community outreach activities worth more than $126 million and pledged more than $36 million for charities of their choice through employee giving. Employees also committed to more than 47,000 sustainable choices through Do One Thing (DOT), which invites employees to make small, everyday choices that add up to a big positive impact for themselves, the community and/or the company.

 

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CELL PHONES FOR SOLDIERS AND AT&T CELEBRATE VETERANS AT PENNYROYAL VETERANS CENTER ON NOV. 11

PENNYROYAL VETERANS CENTERHopkinsville, Ky. (Nov. 11, 2015) – On Nov. 11 as the country celebrates Veterans Day, Cell Phones For Soldiers and AT&T continued its mission of connecting America’s bravest to the people they love and to the opportunities they deserve.

Cell Phones For Soldiers, a national nonprofit focused on the communication needs of troops and veterans, and long-time supporter AT&T donated 200 calling cards, a catered lunch and needed household items like sheets, towels, clothing and more to benefit resident veterans.

In addition to the needed donations, numerous AT&T and community volunteers served a meal to the veteran residents and did a variety of jobs around the center.

Since 2012, the Pennyroyal Veterans Center has provided services to homeless veterans housing up to 50 at a time.

“The donated calling cards, household items and a warm meal make a world of difference for veterans in need,” said Robbie Bergquist, co-founder of Cell Phones For Soldiers. “On Veterans Day and every day, we salute these brave individuals for their sacrifice and service to our country.”

“It is an honor to have the opportunity to give back to these men and women who have given so much to our nation,” said Hood Harris, president of AT&T Kentucky. “AT&T has an historic commitment to supporting our nation’s veterans, and veterans have always been strong members of our team here in Kentucky and nationwide.”

“The Pennyroyal Veterans Center assists homeless veterans in becoming self-sufficient, by providing them with transitional housing, case management, substance abuse and mental health treatment, as well as job training and placement.” said Pennyroyal Veterans Center Administrator Jeff Broadbent. “Since March of 2012, we have served approximately 500 veterans, many of whom arrive here with only what they are wearing. The blankets, towels, gloves, shirts, and beanies that have been donated today will be given to those veterans that need the items as they begin their journey to become self-sufficient.”

AT&T is committed to serving the communities where it operates, and in 2014 alone, employees and retirees volunteered more than 5.6 million hours of time in their communities. Since 2007, AT&T, the AT&T Foundation and AT&T’s customers have donated more than $4.6 million to support Cell Phones For Soldiers.

For 11 years, Cell Phones For Soldiers has served as a lifeline for America’s bravest. Its Helping Heroes Home program provides one-time emergency needs to help veterans transition to post-combat life. From cellphones to use for job searches, to computers for communication with family, these tools assist in the fight to improve the lives of veterans.

For more information, please visit www.cellphonesforsoldiers.com.

Media Contacts:

Erin McCloskey                                                                       Cathy Lewandowski

Cell Phones For Soldiers                                                         AT&T Corporate Communications

[email protected]                                         [email protected]

(336) 207-5222                                                                         (615) 214-5874

 

ABOUT CELL PHONES FOR SOLDIERS INC.

Cell Phones For Soldiers is a national nonprofit dedicated to providing cost-free communication services to active-duty military members and veterans. Founded in 2004 by Robbie and Brittany Bergquist, then 12 and 13 years old, Cell Phones For Soldiers has provided more than 216 million “Minutes That Matter” to servicemen and women. Since 2012, “Helping Heroes Home” has provided emergency funds for more than 2,800 veterans to alleviate communication challenges as well as physical, emotional and assimilation hardships. For more information, visit www.cellphonesforsoldiers.com, Facebook, TwitterGoogle+Pinterest

 

About Community Engagement at AT&T

At AT&T, Community Engagement means engaging our employees to build healthy, connected and thriving communities where we live and do business. Employees are focused on three key issues: improving educational outcomes, building sustainable communities and promoting the responsible use of technology. Last year, AT&T employees and retirees volunteered more than 5.6 million hours of time in community outreach activities worth more than $126 million and pledged more than $36 million for charities of their choice through employee giving. Employees also committed to more than 47,000 sustainable choices through Do One Thing (DOT), which invites employees to make small, everyday choices that add up to a big positive impact for themselves, the community and/or the company.

 

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November 11, 2015

CELL PHONES FOR SOLDIERS AND AT&T DONATE PHONES, GIFT CARDS & HOUSEHOLD ITEMS TO HOMELESS VETERANS IN MINNESOTA

 

AT&T Veterans & Cell Phones for SoldiersMINNEAPOLIS (November 11, 2015) – As the country celebrates Veterans Day, Cell Phones For Soldiers and AT&T continued its mission of connecting America’s bravest to the people they love and to the opportunities they deserve.

Cell Phones For Soldiers and long-time supporter AT&T donated cellphones with a year service, a catered dinner, funds for gas and food gift cards, and needed household items like sheets, pillows and towels to benefit homeless veterans being served by the Minnesota Assistance Council for Veterans (MACV) in Minneapolis.

AT&T volunteers served a meal to the veteran residents and spent time in conversation learning about family, past experiences and more.

“The Minnesota Assistance Council for Veterans has made a tremendous difference in the lives of veterans,” said Robbie Bergquist, co-founder of Cell Phones For Soldiers. “We applaud their work and hope the invaluable donations can positively impact the brave individuals who have sacrificed so much for our country.”

AT&T is committed to serving the communities where it operates, and in 2014 alone, employees and retirees volunteered more than 5.6 million hours of time in their communities. Since 2007, AT&T, the AT&T Foundation and AT&T’s customers have donated more than $4.6 million to support Cell Phones For Soldiers.

“For over 100 years, AT&T has been committed to showing our support for our troops and our veterans each and every day,” said Paul Weirtz, president of AT&T Minnesota and a Marine.  “We are very proud to support MACV’s mission to provide a helping hand to our homeless veterans and help them get back on their feet.”

Since 1990, the Minnesota Assistance Council for Veterans has provided services to homeless veterans or those experiencing a crisis that could lead to homelessness.

“The challenges faced by homeless veterans or those in crisis are complicated and when facing them alone, often insurmountable,” said Kathleen Vitalis, president and CEO of the Minnesota Assistance Council for Veterans.  “Donations like these offer them hope as they work at rebuilding their lives and it reminds them that people care.  May our hands never be so busy that we can’t reach out.  Thank YOU for reaching out today.”

Cell Phones For Soldiers is a national nonprofit focused on the communication needs of troops and veterans.  For 11 years, Cell Phones For Soldiers has served as a lifeline for America’s bravest. Its Helping Heroes Home program provides one-time emergency needs to help veterans transition to post-combat life. From cellphones to use for job searches, to computers for communication with family, these tools assist in the fight to improve the lives of veterans.

For more information, please visit www.cellphonesforsoldiers.com.

Media Contacts:

Erin McCloskey                                                                       Jessica Erickson

Cell Phones For Soldiers                                                        AT&T

[email protected]                                         [email protected]

(336) 207-5222                                                                        (608) 692-5340

ABOUT CELL PHONES FOR SOLDIERS INC.

Cell Phones For Soldiers is a national nonprofit dedicated to providing cost-free communication services to active-duty military members and veterans. Founded in 2004 by Robbie and Brittany Bergquist, then 12 and 13 years old, Cell Phones For Soldiers has provided more than 216 million “Minutes That Matter” to servicemen and women. Since 2012, “Helping Heroes Home” has provided emergency funds for more than 2,800 veterans to alleviate communication challenges as well as physical, emotional and assimilation hardships. For more information, visit www.cellphonesforsoldiers.com, Facebook, TwitterGoogle+Pinterest

About Community Engagement at AT&T

At AT&T, Community Engagement means engaging our employees to build healthy, connected and thriving communities where we live and do business. Employees are focused on three key issues: improving educational outcomes, building sustainable communities and promoting the responsible use of technology. Last year, AT&T employees and retirees volunteered more than 5.6 million hours of time in community outreach activities worth more than $126 million and pledged more than $36 million for charities of their choice through employee giving. Employees also committed to more than 47,000 sustainable choices through Do One Thing (DOT), which invites employees to make small, everyday choices that add up to a big positive impact for themselves, the community and/or the company.

About Minnesota Assistance Council for Veterans (MACV)

 Minnesota Assistance Council for Veterans is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that has been assisting veterans since 1990. Each year MACV receives more than 25,000 contacts, inquiries and requests from veterans across the state. The mission of MACV is to provide assistance throughout Minnesota to positively motivated veterans and their families who are homeless or experiencing other life crisis. It is estimated that 1% of the veterans in this state, or close to 4,000, will experience an episode of homelessness, or an event that could lead to homelessness this year. MACV is there to assist. Many homeless and veterans’ organizations recognize MACV’s transitional and permanent housing programs as a model for the nation. We have a passion for serving those in Minnesota who first served us. For more information visit www.mac-v.org

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November 10, 2015

Lease Advisors Continues to Support Troops and Veterans during the 2015 Holiday Season

Lease AdvisorsLos Angeles, Calif. (November 10, 2015) – Lease Advisors is bridging the communication gap between U.S. military personnel and their families this holiday season. Through the Lease Advisors Community program, the Los Angeles-based lease acquisition firm will continue to provide prepaid calling cards to local veterans and active-duty servicemen and women currently deployed.

Earlier this year, Lease Advisors pledged to donate pre-paid calling cards to military installations across the nation. This initiative, announced in partnership with Cell Phones for Soldiers (CPFS), has donated more than 200 prepaid calling cards during the first 90 days of implementation. That equates to more than 12,000 minutes of free international airtime for families currently separated by deployment.

For every cellular and billboard lease acquired by the firm, a donation is made in joint participation with Lease Advisors’ clients to the military installation in the region where the lease is held. These donations are key in enabling active-duty and veteran military personnel to communicate with their loved ones during their time away from home.

“All too often it’s the little things that matter the most that get overlooked,” said Lease Advisors CEO, Jarred Saba. “Something as simple as a phone call with a loved one can make all the difference in the world, and that is why we are proud to have joined in this partnership with CPFS, giving back to the local communities in which we conduct business.”

Cell Phones for Soldiers was created by Robbie and Brittany Bergquist of Norwell, Massachusetts, as a measure to show appreciation to the servicemen and servicewomen who sacrifice family time to secure the freedom and protection of Americans everywhere. Since 2004, CPFS’s Minutes That Matter initiative has provided more than 216 million minutes of free talk time for troops and veterans.

About Lease Advisors

Lease Advisors is a premier lease consultancy firm based in Los Angeles, California. Since 2008, Lease Advisors has used its knowledge of the ground lease market to work extensively with landlords, real estate investors, businesses, non-profit organizations and municipalities across the nation; assisting them with lease negotiations, acquisitions, financial and real estate issues pertaining to telecom and billboard leases. For more information, please visit www.leaseadvisors.com.

 

 

Brown Athletics to Hold Cell Phones For Soldiers Donation Events

Brown Athletics LogoPROVIDENCE, R.I. – Brown University athletics, led by the baseball and women’s lacrosse programs, has partnered with the Cell Phones For Soldiers nonprofit and will hold a pair of donation events during the second week of November.

The two programs will be accepting both monetary and cell phone donations at a pair of events. The first will be on Veteran’s Day, Wednesday Nov. 11, outside the Nelson Fitness Center on the campus of Brown University from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. The teams will also be posted outside the gates of Brown Stadium on Saturday, Nov. 14 starting at 11 a.m., before the football game between Brown and Dartmouth on Military Appreciation Day. If you are unable to make either event, monetary donations can be made online at cellphonesforsoldiers.com with Brown University listed in the company name.

Cell Phones For Soldiers is a national nonprofit serving troops and veterans with free communication services and emergency funding. Founded in 2004, Cell Phones For Soldiers relies on generous cash contributions and donations of cell phones, regardless of condition or carrier, to provide a lifeline for America’s bravest. The cell phones will be cleared of personal data once they arrive at the charity’s recycling partner, but donors are encouraged to factory reset phones before donation.

For every donated phone valued at $5, Cell Phones For Soldiers is able to provide two and a half hours of free talk time to deployed troops.

Since 2004, more than 11.7 million phones have been recycled or repurposed. Approximately half of the phones processed are reconditioned and reused. Phones and components that cannot be refurbished are dismantled and responsibly recycled to reclaim materials, including:

  • Gold, silver and platinum from circuit boards
  • Copper wiring from phone chargers
  • Nickel, iron, cadmium and lead from battery packs

For more information, please visit www.cellphonesforsoldiers.com.

ABOUT CELL PHONES FOR SOLDIERS INC.
Cell Phones For Soldiers Inc. is a national nonprofit dedicated to serving troops and veterans with free communication services and emergency funding. Founded in 2004 by Robbie and Brittany Bergquist, then 12 and 13 years old, Cell Phones For Soldiers has provided more than 216 million “Minutes That Matter” to servicemen and women. Since 2012, “Helping Heroes Home” has provided emergency funds for more than 2,800 veterans to alleviate communication challenges as well as physical, emotional and assimilation hardships. For more information, visit www.cellphonesforsoldiers.com, Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Pinterest pages.

Massachusetts State Lottery and the Boston Celtics Honor Robbie and Brittany Bergquist as Heroes Among Us

Robbie_Brittany 2Cell Phones For Soldiers Co-founders, Robbie and Brittany Bergquist were recently honored by the Boston Celtics with its Heroes Among Us award for their work with military members. Friday, Nov. 6, Brittany and Robbie were honored on center court during the second quarter as the Celtics hosted the Washington Wizards for its Hoops for Troops night.

Since its establishment in 1997 by the Boston Celtics, The Heroes Among Us program has recognized outstanding individuals who have made exceptional and lasting contributions to their communities. The award is presented at every Celtics home game and pays tribute to the heroic achievements of these outstanding citizens.

New this season, and as part of Mass. Lottery’s partnership with this program, each Hero Among Us honoree has the opportunity to donate a pair of Celtics tickets to a charitable organization or cause of their choice. Robbie and Brittany chose to donate their tickets to charity partner the Volunteers of America Massachusetts Bay Veterans Center.

November 9, 2015

Ortt, AT&T, Niagara County Veterans Service Agency partner with Cell Phones For Soldiers to provide troops with free calls home

In honor of Veteran’s Day and to support active military around the world, the community is encouraged to donate unwanted mobile devices to provide calling cards for deployed troops to call home

Robert Ortt, AT&TState Sen. Robert Ortt, AT&T and Niagara County Veterans Service Agency have teamed up with the nonprofit Cell Phones For Soldiers asking the community to help troops call home by donating cellular phones and tablets. Proceeds from the recycled devices are used to buy long-distance calling cards for troops at home and abroad.

Although the military landscape is ever changing, as many as 200,000 troops are serving in the U.S. military overseas. By donating to Cell Phones For Soldiers, local residents and businesses can provide a lifeline for America’s bravest.

Until Dec. 7, on the anniversary of Pearl Harbor, area residents and businesses can donate their unwanted cell phones and/or tablets at the following locations:

  • Ortt’s district office: 175 Walnut St., Suite 6, Lockport
  • Hoag Library: 134 S. Main St., Albion
  • Lockport DMV: 111 Main St., Suite G1, Lockport
  • Niagara County Veterans Service Agency: 111 Main St., Suite 200, Lockport
  • Niagara Falls Housing Authority: 744 10th St., Niagara Falls
  • North Tonawanda DMV: 500 Wheatfield St., North Tonawanda
  • Seymour Public Library: 161 East Ave., Brockport
  • All AT&T Stores in WNY, including: 5724 S. Transit Rd., Lockport; 8292 Niagara Falls Blvd., Niagara Falls, Tonawanda; 1741 Sheridan Drive, Tonawanda; 8200 Transit Road, Amherst; Walden Galleria Mall, 1 Walden Galleria Drive, Second Floor, Cheektowaga; 4900 Transit Road, Depew; and 3505 Amelia Drive, Orchard Park

 

Cell Phones For Soldiers was founded in 2004 by Robbie and Brittany Bergquist, then ages 12 and 13, respectively. The charity has since provided more than 216 million minutes of free talk time to servicemen and women stationed around the world through its calling card program, Minutes That Matter. Funds raised from the recycling of cellular phones are used to purchase prepaid international calling cards. On average, Cell Phones For Soldiers distributes 1,500 calling cards each week to military bases worldwide, and supports care package programs, deployment ceremonies and VA hospitals.

“Each year, we have been humbled by the number of people and organizations like AT&T and New York State Sen. Ortt that take part in this important initiative to support our military members,” Bergquist said. “The communication gap between those serving and their families is a crucial need that Cell Phones For Soldiers is committed to addressing for years to come.”

Ortt said, “As we approach the upcoming holiday, it’s important to remember and honor the men and women in the U.S. Armed Forces who have served and continue to serve our great nation. Cell Phones For Soldiers is one small way we can do that while making a big difference in their lives. I know from personal experience that staying connected to your loved ones while serving in the military helps the day pass, and makes time away from home a little bit easier. I’m privileged to be a part of this initiative in support of our troops to help keep our heroes connected.”

Ortt enlisted in the New York Army National Guard in October 2001 in direct response to the attacks on Sept. 11. He is a veteran of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan, where he served from March 2008 until December of the same year. His mission was to serve as a combat mentor/adviser to the Afghan National Police in Kandahar City in Afghanistan. Ortt’s other responsibilities included ensuring all the logistical needs of the company were met to facilitate operational readiness, coordinating and running all company meetings, and acting as the commander in his absence. He successfully moved $10 million worth of equipment to Afghanistan and back to the U.S.

He is the recipient of the Bronze Star, the Army Commendation Medal, the Afghan Campaign Medal and the Combat Infantryman’s Badge in recognition of his service.

“AT&T has a long and proud history of supporting both veterans, active military personnel and their families through various company initiatives and by establishing external partnerships with organizations that provide necessary services, such as Cell Phones For Soldiers,” said Marissa Shorenstein, president of AT&T New York. “We are privileged to partner with Sen. Ortt, Cell Phones For Soldiers and the Niagara County Veterans Service Agency to encourage the community to join us and donate their unused cell phones and tablets to honor and thank all of the brave men and women that protect and serve our country by helping them keep connected with their friends, family and loved ones at home.”

Niagara County Veterans Service Agency Director Nina Cabrera said, “We’re proud to be partnering with Cell Phones For Soldiers, Sen. Ortt and AT&T for this worthy cause. We value the importance of supporting our troops and veterans, and this initiative to keep them connected with family members and loved ones is another way to show that we care. It’s an honor to be able to give back to our military men and women who have sacrificed so much for us.”

For every donated device worth at least $5, Cell Phones For Soldiers is able to provide two-and-a-half hours of free talk time to deployed troops via calling cards.

Since 2004, more than 11.7 million phones have been recycled or repurposed. Approximately half of the phones processed are reconditioned and reused. Phones and components that cannot be refurbished are dismantled and responsibly recycled to reclaim materials, including:

  • Gold, silver and platinum from circuit boards
  • Copper wiring from phone chargers
  • Nickel, iron, cadmium and lead from battery packs

AT&T’s partnership with Cell Phones For Soldiers stems from the company’s longstanding mission to connect members of the nation’s military with their loved ones back home. Over the past two years, AT&T has proudly supported Cell Phones For Soldiers’ “Helping Heroes Home” initiative, a program designed to provide emergency funds for returning veterans to alleviate communication challenges as well as physical, emotional and assimilation hardships. Additionally, AT&T and its customers have donated more than $4.6 million and distributed more than 600,000 AT&T prepaid calling cards to service men and women overseas since 2007.

For nearly 100 years, AT&T has remained dedicated to supporting active military personnel, veterans and their families. AT&T is a founding member of the 100,000 Jobs Mission, launched in 2011 with 10 other companies to commit to hiring 100,000 veterans by 2020. The coalition has grown to more than 180 corporate members and has tripled its commitment to hiring at least 300,000 veterans by 2020. In November 2013, AT&T increased its veteran recruiting efforts with the goal of hiring 10,000 veterans and their family members into career opportunities over the next five years. Currently, AT&T has hired more than 7,000 veterans and their family members, and is well on its way of achieving the goal by 2018.

To prepare your mobile phone for donation, here are some tips on how to erase all personal information that may be stored on it to protect your privacy:

  • Remove your phone’s SIM card. Erase your address book, photos, messages and other stored information.
  • Restore the device factory settings on your device. For instructions on how to do this, go to owner’s manual or to the manufacturer’s website.

For more information on Cell Phones For Soldiers, visit www.cellphonesforsoldiers.com.

– See more at: http://www.wnypapers.com/news/article/current/2015/11/07/122542/ortt-att-niagara-county-veterans-service-agency-partner-with-cell-phones-for-soldiers-to-provide-troops-with-free-calls-home#sthash.RjlQ4fT0.dpuf

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