BRANSON, Mo., October 11, 2012 — The Branson Tourism Center and non-profit Cell Phones for Soldiers Inc. are asking local residents and businesses to help troops call home by donating gently-used cellular phones. Although the military landscape is ever changing, as many as 369,000 troops are serving in the U.S. military overseas around the world. The cell phones donated to Cell Phones for Soldiers, provide troops with that precious connection to loved ones back home.
Beginning today, residents can donate their used phones either in the reception area of the Branson Tourism Center or at the Branson 1st Stop. Both are located at 220 Branson Hills Parkway.
Larry Milton, co owner of the Branson Tourism Center with his wife Lianne, said, “It is an honor for us to be able to participate in this program in an effort to help those serving our country communicate with those from whom they are separated.” Milton said that his son Brian told him of the program and recommended that BTC get involved with the program. Brian said that if he were serving in Afghanistan and had the choice between food, water and communication back home that he would choose communication back home. Milton, himself a U.S. Marine, said, “I couldn’t have said it better.”
Cell Phones for Soldiers was founded by teenagers Robbie and Brittany Bergquist at the ages of 12 and 13. The charity has since provided more than 150 million minutes of free talk time to servicemen and women stationed around the world. Funds raised from the recycling of cellular phones are used to purchase prepaid international calling cards. On average, Cell Phones for Soldiers distributes 12,000 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 the Branson Tourism Center that take the initiative to support our troops,” said co-founder Brittany Bergquist. “We also have watched the communication gap between our armed forces and their loved ones continue to grow as more troops are deployed.”
Donated phones are sent to Michigan-based ReCellular for recycling. 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.
Approximately half of the phones ReCellular processes 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 and plastic from phone cases and accessories
For more information, please call 1-417-334-4400.