There are millions who want to speak to their soldier husband, wife, son or daughter. For some, it’s simply the desire to speak to mommy or daddy.
For many, Valentine’s Day 2010 came and went without that telephone call. The young men and women serving overseas – American soldiers – couldn’t afford the long distance charges to call home. But Operation Valentine’s Connection made a difference, and you can, too.
Operation Valentine’s Connection was a special effort by the folks at Free Phone Calls for Soldiers to connect soldiers with their loved ones for Valentine’s Day.
Free Phone Calls for Soldiers is a Facebook Cause founded by Patrick Ayres and Larry Thorpe. They launched the effort while serving in South Korea after finding they weren’t the only soldiers feeling lonely and disconnected.
Patrick enlisted in January of 2008. He trained as a Combat Medic and served in South Korea. He is currently stationed at Fort Sill, Oklahoma. Larry joined the Army in July 2007. He served for two years as a Cannon Crew Member and was stationed in South Korea with a field artillery unit. Today, he is serving with the National Guard and working to support his fellow soldiers.
Since its founding in September 2008, Free Phone Calls for Soldiers has given away more than one million free phone minutes to their fellow GIs.
Operation Valentine’s Connection is a special fundraising effort organized by Andrew Ballenthin (President, SolSolutions and Founder of the Blog Off Competitions). To connect with their audience of mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, and supporters of US troops overseas, Andrew created a mini-e-book titled Operation Valentines Connection, filled with the stories of wives, husbands, fiancés, and other family members of US troops. Reading these stories will touch your heart, and show you what it’s costing families.
Amanda A. wrote, “My husband is serving in Afghanistan right now. We spend boatloads of money for him to call home. Some months, we can't afford it.
“When I don't hear from him, it's really rough on both of us. I need to know he is safe, and he needs to know that we're all ok here.
“They worry about us too, and they don't need to while they are over there. Calling home allows him to keep his mind on his job, so he can come home safe.”
Final stats from Operation Valentines Connection show participation rose from 8,000 members to 80,000 members taking 137,000 actions. An amazing 83.5% of people who viewed the mini-e-book Operation Valentines Connection passed it on to their friends. Read it for yourself here.
You’ll read a story about Jenny’s brother: “My Brother is serving in Afghanistan right now. This week 2 soldiers in his regiment were killed, he can't talk about that but he can reassure his family he’s ok.
"My brother can listen to our voices and have a little peice [sic] of mind and comfort for a few minutes, is that to [sic] much to ask?”
It’s amazing how big a difference you and I can make. Imagine each of the 1.5 million members giving just a dollar. You’ll be sacrificing a cuppa-joe so some G.I. Joe can call his mom, her husband, or their child.
“My hubby is currently deployed and hearing from him on the phone is something that keeps me going. He was unable to see his first child be born because he is deployed. Phone cards add up quickly…let alone trying to do every day things with out [sic] our loved one.
“Even though our little one is only 3 months old he knows his Daddy's voice & smiles every time he calls home. I am so thankful for all that our soldiers do & wish they would give back to them & let them call home for FREE!!!”