Hoosiers help soldiers call home for holidays

Contact: Allison Fore


Phone card donations top 194,268 minutes

(Indianapolis)--Wounded soldiers recuperating at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany will be able to call all of their loved ones over the holidays now that Indiana residents have donated domestic prepaid phone cards by the thousands to Secretary of State Todd Rokita's office.

Landstuhl is the military casualty hospital that serves as the primary medical evacuation destination for U.S. troops participating in Iraq and Afghanistan military operations. When Rokita visited this summer, he learned that domestic phone cards are necessary for outgoing calls because of the hospital's phone system configuration. After publicizing this need, Rokita found that the outpouring of Hoosier support this holiday season exceeded all expectations.

"The people of Indiana have risen to the occasion and purchased domestic pre-paid phone card minutes by the thousands," said Rokita. "Along with holiday cards and letters of support, we just mailed 1241 cards representing 194,268 minutes to Landstuhl Chaplain James Griffith, and I expect there to be more on the way."

"On behalf of all of the wounded soldiers, we are so appreciative and grateful," Griffith said. "The soldiers come from all over the United States and every one of them will be able to call their spouses, children, parents and friends. Hearing a loved one's voice really helps with morale."

Cards mailed today will arrive in time for Christmas, and another anticipated mailing early next week will arrive in time for the new years celebration.

"Based on the amount of mail we have been receiving every day, I anticipate the phone cards will continue arriving, so as long as there are generous, thoughtful donors, we will keep sending them to the troops," Rokita said.

While the predominant source of cards came from individuals, church and community groups and businesses, residents of states as far as Wyoming and California also purchased cards for the troops.

"We have been encouraging others from throughout the country to aid in this effort, and we will maintain a permanent link on our website about the card donation effort," Rokita said.

Additional information can be obtained by calling Allison Fore at 317-233-8655 or by visiting http://www.sos.in.gov/.

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To view the letter sent to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center from Secretary Rokita on December 19, 2007, click here