Knoxville, Tenn. — Cellular Sales, the nation’s largest Verizon Wireless retailer, has joined forces with Cell Phones for Soldiers at many of its stores in Georgia, Florida and South Carolina. Cell Phones for Soldiers is a nationwide nonprofit group that distributes free telephone calling cards to U.S. troops serving overseas.
Brian Snyder, regional manager for Cellular Sales, said, “We are excited to be able to give back to the soldiers that serve this country. With so many troops in this area, we believe we can make a positive impact by partnering with Cell Phones for Soldiers.”
Cell Phones for Soldiers turned old cell phones into more than 12 million minutes of prepaid calling cards for U.S. service men and women in 2008. To do so, Cell Phones for Soldiers collected approximately 50,000 cell phones each month through a network of more than 3,000 collection sites across the country.
The phones are sent to a company that pays Cell Phones for Soldiers for each donated phone. Every phone donated to Cell Phones for Soldiers generates about an hour of talk time for a soldier abroad. Americans replace an estimated 130 million cell phones each year.
Cell Phones for Soldiers was founded in 2004 by teenagers Robbie and Brittany Bergquist from Norwell, Mass. Between them, the two teens had a total of $21 to start the organization. Since that time, the organization has raised $2 million in donations and distributed more than 500,000 prepaid calling cards to soldiers serving overseas.
“Cell Phones for Soldiers started as a small way to show our family’s appreciation for the men and women who have sacrificed the day-to-day contact with their own families to serve in the U.S. armed forces,” said the teens’ father, Bob Bergquist. “Over the past few years, we have been overwhelmed by the generosity of others – but we have also seen the need to support our troops continue to grow as more troops are sent overseas for longer assignments.”
Through increased fundraising efforts, the Bergquist family hopes to raise more than $9 million in the next five years to fund new programs including providing video phones with prepaid service to allow soldiers abroad to see their families on a regular basis.
Cellular Sales, the nation’s largest retailer of Verizon Wireless, is a 15-year old privately held company headquartered in Knoxville, Tenn. The company currently operates throughout the United States. By year end, Cellular Sales – which attributes its rapid growth to unparalleled customer service – will open 50 new stores, bringing the company’s total number of locations to over 300. For the past two years, Inc. magazine named Cellular Sales one of the nation’s fastest growing companies on its “Inc. 5,000” list.
According to Dane Scism, founder and CEO of Cellular Sales, the company is evaluating the Georgia, Florida and South Carolina area sponsorship of Cell of Phones for Soldiers and may eventually roll the program out at all of the company’s stores throughout the United States.
For more information about Cellular Sales and the Cell Phones for Soldiers program, or to find a Cellular Sales used cell phone drop-off location near you, visit the company’s web site at www.cellularsales.com.
UPDATE: Watch a great story about the Cellular Sales Verizon Wireless program from NBC’s WTLV in Jacksonville, Fla.