Teresa Miller Monona County Economic Development
Jenn Collison Onawa Chamber of Commerce
Georgine Wessell Monona County Conservation Board
Melanie Holt ISU Extension and Outreach Monona County
Cell Phones for Soldiers The Monona County Veterans Administration (MCVA) and Monona County Economic Development Partnership for Growth (MCEDP) are partnering with the non-profit Cell Phones for Soldiers Inc. They are asking Monona County residents to help troops call home by donating gently-used cellular phones. Although the military landscape is ever changing, as many as 290,000 troops are serving in the U.S. military overseas around the world. By donating to Cell Phones for Soldiers, residents can provide troops with that precious connection to loved ones back home. Kelly Hansen of MCVA says, “Our County is working on a recycling and environmental awareness event. This is a perfect fit with those activities, AND benefits military personnel. There are multiple collection sites throughout the county for the month of April, including: Onawa City and WIPCO offices, Whiting City office and Whiting School, Mapleton City Office, Soldier Speedee Stop, Ute City office, Moorhead Guys and Gals Hair and Melby’s Mini Mart. Forms for tax deduction purposes will be found by each box. Or, phones can be dropped off at the Earth Awareness Celebration Day on April 27 at the Western Iowa Power Cooperative.” More information about the Earth Awareness Celebration can be found at www.extension.iastate.edu/monona/EACD.
Cell Phones for Soldiers was founded in 2004 by teenagers Robbie and Brittany Bergquist at the ages of 12 and 13. This 501(c)3 charity has since provided 181 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 Monona County Economic Development Partnership that take the initiative to support our troops,” said co-founder Brittany Bergquist. “We want to continue to mend the communication gap between our armed forces and their loved ones as troops continue to serve our county abroad.” Donated phones are sent to Michigan-based ReCellular for recycling. For every donated phone valued at $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. For more information visit www.extension.iastate.edu/monona/EACD or www.cellphonesforsoldiers.com.