Waupaca Rotary Club and AT&T collected more than 200 phones from area residents to support the Cell Phones for Soldiers program.
The charity uses recycling proceeds to buy and send free prepaid phone cards to military members stationed away from home.
As a Navy veteran himself, State Rep. Kevin Petersen, R-Waupaca, said he understands the importance of keeping connected with family back home while on duty.
“Keeping in touch with family members back home is such a morale booster for those who are serving our country,” said Petersen, a former submariner and retired Naval Reservist. “Cell Phones for Soldiers offers a simple and easy way for all of us to express our gratitude for their service while helping to keep our service members in touch with their own families.”
Henry Veleker, president of the Waupaca Rotary Club, said fallen heroes, current veterans, and active members of the military deserve the community’s appreciation for their sacrifices.
“As brave members of the military know too well, being separated from loved ones creates hardships for their families,” Veleker said. “Helping families remain together across long distances is a worthy effort that everyone can take part in, and I’m proud we were able to collect more than 200 phones to further this cause.”
The Waupaca Rotary Club collected over 200 used cell phones during a drive that ran from Aug. 24 to Oct. 5.
The Cell Phones for Soldiers program was founded in 2004 by teenagers Brittany and Robbie Bergquist as a way for military families serving overseas to keep in touch with family back home. Since July 2007, AT&T has been working with Cell Phones for Soldiers to collect phones for the cause.
Every time a customer recycles a used wireless phone with AT&T, part of the proceeds support the Cell Phones for Soldiers program, which sends free prepaid phone cards to troops overseas.
This year, the national group’s goal is to donate 12 million minutes to soldiers. With the help of wireless customers throughout the country, AT&T will match its 2008 recycling totals with the charity, year to year, through 2011, aiming to provide Cell Phones for Soldiers with $1 million in proceeds in that time.