In honor of Memorial Day, help give soldiers stationed far away the freedom to call home
The messages to Cell Phones for Soldiers say it all:
I wanted to take a moment and say thank you for this incredible service you have created for us deployed overseas. I am currently in the middle of my third deployment. Due to this program I have been able to keep in contact with my wife and family much more often than any of my prior deployments. I have found keeping in touch with your loved ones at home is what reminds you of why you are over here doing what you are doing. It makes it bearable for the long durations that pass knowing you are missing a lot of significant events back home. The ability to have frequent conversations greatly reduces that burden and raises morale more than you can imagine. Thank you again for all that you do for us.
Your help and the help of those in the Cell Phones for Soldiers organization is greatly appreciated by myself and my unit. As you may imagine, our job is not easy, nor is it safe and it is not easy being away from our families and loved ones. However, when acts of appreciation and kindness like those of your own are directed in our direction, we simply remember why it is that we do what we do. On behalf of myself and 1st platoon, Alpha company, 10th Mountain Division. THANK YOU.
SPC Bigham, US Army
From everyone here at the Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa to everyone there back in the US, thank you for everything you do for our Service Members abroad, we really do appreciate your continuing efforts and support. It’s people like you that help keep our country “Boston Strong!!” Thanks again, take good care and God speed.
John J. Oliveira
CJTF-HOA, Djibouti, Africa
Robbie and Brittany Bergquist of Norwell, Mass., have received hundreds of thank you notes like these since they founded Cell Phones for Soldiers in April of 2004 with $21 taken from their piggybanks and collected from classmates. The determined duo wanted to help troops deploying to Afghanistan and Iraq stay in touch with their families back home. When their father, Bob Bergquist, learned of their intention to start a nonprofit, he took the budding philanthropists to a local bank to open an account. “He told us that if we were serious about helping soldiers we needed to put the money in a safe place,” said Brittany. “When the bank manager heard what we were trying to do, she said that the bank would open up the account for free and donate $500.00.”
That’s how it all started.
Since then, their nonprofit organization has raised millions of dollars and provided troops with 181 million minutes of free talk time via prepaid calling cards. About 12,000 calling cards are mailed to active duty military each week. The cards are purchased through direct donation and through monies collected from cell phone recycling and refurbishment. In addition to helping soldiers stay in touch, Cell Phones for Soldiers (CPFS) recycling efforts have kept more than 10.8 million phones out of landfills.
Cell Phones for Soldiers started as a small way to show our family’s appreciation for the men and women who have sacrificed the day-to-day contact with their own families to serve in the U.S. armed forces, said the their father, Bob Bergquist.
In July of 2012, CPFS launched another initiative, called Helping Heroes Home, to provide emergency funds for returning soldiers dealing with physical and emotional problems or having difficulty readjusting to civilian life. Helping Heroes Home has assisted more than 275 veterans and their families so far.
On May 19, Brittany, 22, graduated from college. She’s considering her job options and continuing her work for Cell Phones for Soldiers. Robbie is finishing up his junior year abroad in Australia and will resume his responsibilities at the organization when he returns.
A $5.00 donation equals 2.5 hours of talk time. Or you can donate a used cellphone. The organization has 2600 collection points nationwide. You can also mail your phone directly to the Cell Phones’ recycling partner by printing an address label off the website.