May 18, 2012
For Immediate Release
State Employees Collect Nearly 1,500 Phones for Cell Phones for Soldiers
Successful Effort Leads to Ongoing Partnership with AT&T
Madison–In honor of the Year of the Veteran, all Wisconsin state government agencies teamed up to help our troops call home and collected nearly 1,500 gently-used cellular phones for donation to the non-profit Cell Phones for Soldiers Inc.
Department of Administration employee, Betsy Paque, came up with the idea of doing a cell phone drive for Cell Phones for Soldiers. While working in the Division of Enterprise Technology, Betsy saw many old state cell phones pile up and wanted to find a way to recycle the phones, while giving back.
Betsy’s support and promotion of the organization was instrumental in the implementation of the program, as she oversaw a team of fellow DET employees, who collected and wiped the donated phones and organized them for donation.
For every donated phone valued at just $5, Cell Phones for Soldiers is able to provide two and a half hours of free talk time to deployed troops. By donating nearly 1,500 gently-used cellular phones to Cell Phones for Soldiers, state employees provided troops with over 3,600 hours of free communication with loved ones back home.
“I want to thank Betsy Paque for coming up with this great idea and seeing it through. Because of her dedication, Betsy and her fellow state employees gathered nearly 1,500 cell phones, which will help our deployed troops stay in touch with their loved ones, while they are serving our country far from home,” said Governor Scott Walker.
Due to the success of the cell phone drive, AT&T and the Department of Administration (DOA) have partnered up to continue accepting donated cell phones throughout the Year of the Veteran. AT&T will provide collection boxes to be placed in the Governor’s office, the Capitol Rotunda, and the DOA lobby to help carry on this wonderful cause.
“Today we celebrate the continuation of the successful partnership between the State of Wisconsin and Cell Phones for Soldiers. The program is a great way to honor our men and women in service in accordance with the Year of the Veteran,” Governor Walker said. ”It is important for these future veterans to have contact with their loved ones and to understand that we appreciate all they have done for us.”
Siblings Robbie and Brittany Bergquist founded Cell Phones for Soldiers at the ages of 12 and 13 in 2004. The charity has since provided more than 114 million minutes of free talk time to service men and women stationed around the world.
“Each year we have been humbled by the amount of people and organizations that take the initiative to support our troops,” said co-founder Brittany Bergquist. “We have also watched the communication gap between our armed forces and their loved ones continue to grow as more troops are deployed for their third or fourth tour overseas.”