Hundreds of out-of-service Mille Lacs Band cellphones will help soldiers stay in touch with home, thanks to Cell Phones for Soldiers, the Department of Administration, and Environmental Compliance Officer Andrew Boyd of the Mille Lacs Band Department of Natural Resources.
Andrew has worked with Cell Phones for Soldiers since 2009, and when he heard that the Department of Administration had 304 old cellphones gathering dust, he and Carl Weous decided to package them up and send them off.
Andrew and Carl are both veterans and know how difficult it can be to keep in touch with home, especially when stationed overseas. Andy spent time in both West Germany and Korea during his 11-1/2 years in the Army.
Cell Phones For Soldiers is a national nonprofit 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 relies on generous cash contributions and donations of gently-used cell phones to provide a lifeline for America's bravest.
Cell Phones For Soldiers has two programs: Minutes That Matter provides free calling cards to active-duty military members to connect with loved ones. Helping Heroes Home assists veterans with emergency funds to alleviate communication challenges as well as physical, emotional, and assimilation hardships.
Cellphones for Soldiers has recycled over 20 million devices since 2004, provided U.S. troops with more than 300 million "Minutes That Matter," and distributed more than 5 million prepaid international calling cards.
In 2016, Cell Phones For Soldiers distributed more than 12 million minutes of free talk time and more than 200,000 calling cards.
A $5 donation warrants 2.5 hours of talk time; a $100.00 donation gives 50 hours or 3,000 minutes of talk time.
Since July 2012, Helping Heroes Home has assisted more than 3,100 veterans and their families with emergency funding.
There are more than 4,000 public cell phone collection points across the nation.
Since 2004, more than 15 million cell phones have been recycled, reducing the impact on landfills.
If you have an old cell phone lying around the house, visit www.cellphonesforsoldiers.com, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Pinterest pages — or drop it off with Andrew at the Mille Lacs DNR building.