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Contact: Allison Fore
(Indianapolis) -- While the task of picking up a phone and calling a loved one in the U.S. is easy, the act becomes a bit more complicated when you’re overseas. And in the military. And in a hospital.
This summer, Secretary of State Todd Rokita visited Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, a military casualty hospital operated by the U.S. European Military Command. It's also a primary medical evacuation destination for U.S. troops participating in Iraq and Afghanistan military operations. When told that international calling charges are not covered and injured troops were unable to contact home, he was determined to help meet this small but important need.
"I was deeply moved by the commitment, courage and high-spirits of the wounded soldiers I met," Rokita said. "More than one hospital staff member told me that when wounded soldiers regained consciousness, their first words were often identical: before asking about their own injuries, they would inquire if their fellow soldiers were okay, and then ask how soon they could get back to the field because their unit would be counting on them."
Being able to call home is something often taken for granted at home but is something injured troops overseas treasure.
"A lot of families’ fears could be alleviated if their wounded loved ones were able to contact them," Rokita said. "This is why I was determined to help collect the domestic phone cards for the soldiers, especially during the holiday season."
As a result, Rokita and his office are collecting 60 to 120 minute domestic prepaid telephone cards to be sent to wounded troops stationed overseas. The effort has been ongoing since Rokita returned home from his trip abroad, and the number of cards collected and sent has slowly been growing.
Phone cards can be purchased at local retailers. Please mail or deliver the cards to: Military Phone Card Program, c/o Indiana Secretary of State Todd Rokita, 201 Statehouse, Indianapolis, IN 46204. Rokita will forward the collection starting December 19 so the soldiers can have the cards in time to call their loved ones over the holidays.
Additional information can be obtained by calling 317-232-6531 or by visiting http://www.in.gov/sos/3387.htm.