Buy an ad; help troops phone home | NevadaAppeal.com

Buy an ad; help troops phone home

PETER THOMPSON

From divisions in Iraq, Afghanistan, Kuwait, Europe and the Pacific; from Special Operations Forces hunting down insurgents in Iraq to National Guard soldiers mobilized around the world in the war on terrorism, many of our servicemen and -women won’t be home for the holidays.

Their boots may be on foreign soil, but their hearts can still be filled with holiday spirit and as close to their families and loved ones as possible thanks to the USO’s “Operation Phone Home” program, which is raising money to buy international phone cards for troops.

The USO cites a special and “urgent need for phone cards for those serving in forward-deployed locations.”

So for the rest of the month, the Nevada Appeal is partnering with the USO to help those protecting our freedom by giving them the freedom to call home.

With every merchandise or auto ad placed in the classifieds in all of the Appeal’s newspapers until Dec. 31, a yellow ribbon will appear in the ad and part of the total price will go to purchase a 100-minute calling card for a homesick soldier.

Jean Grady of the Appeal classified department wanted to do something to help the troops.

“I knew there were restrictions in place,” she says, “I knew (the Department of Defense) didn’t want anonymous care packages sent for security reasons, so I researched a few companies offering gift cards, but they all had some kind of service fee attached to them.”

A call to the Red Cross in Reno led her to the USO and its dedication to the morale of military personnel.

“They made a deal with AT&T to get the cards at a really great rate,” says Grady. “And all of the money raised goes toward buying the cards. Absolutely 100 percent.”

She believes people love to give, and by the numbers so far, she’s right. In just a week, the USO ads have raised enough money to purchase 187 phone cards.

To donate independently, go to the official USO Web site at http://www.uso.org or call (800) 876-7469 and specify that your gift is for the “USO Operation Phone Home” program.

Contact reporter Peter Thompson at pthompson@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1215.