Funeral home giving away free phone cards to soldiers

July 30, 2008 at 12:15 pm  | Mobile Reader | Pring this storyPrint 

For men and women serving in the military, the opportunities to talk to family members or loved ones are few and far between, especially if they are stationed overseas.

Alexander Funeral Home is trying to change that by offering free phone cards to anyone that has a loved one actively involved in the protection of our country. The phone cards each have 60 minutes on them and they don't expire until October.

“What's happening is that we have a bulk of phone cards that were set to expire and we figured it would be great to get those to servicemen or servicewomen,” Natalie Louque, office manager of Alexander Funeral Home, said. “They are all international cards.”

There are close to 100 cards available and they will all be distributed on a first come, first serve basis. The cards will probably be split between the funeral home's two locations in Norco and Lutcher.

Lutcher's Chad Brooks and Norco's James Hodges came up with the idea to give the phone cards to active soldiers because they wanted the cards to go to a good cause. Plus, phone cards also make it a lot easier on servicemen and women to stay in contact with their families.

“I have a husband who is in the military and it is a hassle to try to stay in touch over the phone,” Louque said. “You have to go through so many connections before you finally get in touch.”

On average, it costs more than $4 a minute to place a call from Iraq to the United States.

Anyone interested in the phone cards can call the Norco location at 985-764-6249 or the Lutcher location at 225-869-5553. Once they call, Alexander Funeral Home will take down the address and name of the serviceman or woman and then send the cards directly to them. A cover letter will be attached to the card and it will tell the recipient who had the phone card sent.

Phone cards are usually given directly to soldiers and not their families because soldiers are not stationed in any one place long enough to have a phone number they can share.
Some soldiers had begun using YouTube, MySpace and other popular Web sites to communicate with their families, but the Department of Defense has prevented military personnel from using these sites in a effort to protect information and reduce drag on the department's networks. Because it has blocked these sites, the military is trying to make it easier for soldiers to talk with their families through phone cards

By calling 1-800-527-2345, family members, neighbors and civic groups can take part in the "Help Our Troops Call Home" effort. They do this by sending any one of three Military Exchange Global Prepaid Phone cards. Phone cards may be sent to an individual service member designated by the sender or distributed to any service member through the American Red Cross, Air Force Aid Society, Fisher House Foundation, Navy-Marine Corps Relief and other organizations.

View other articles written Jonathan Menard

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