North Country senators working with organization that collects cell phones for overseas soldiers
Friday, November 10, 2017 - 5:38 pm

Two North Country state senators are working with Cell Phones for Soldiers, a nonprofit organization that recycles used cell phones and provides free calling cards to soldiers and veterans.

Since 2004, the group has provided more than 300,000,000 minutes of free talk time to men and women in uniform.

Sen. Patty Ritchie, R-Heuvelton, is collecting donations of “gently used” cell phones at boxes in the lobbies of her Ogdensburg, Watertown and Oswego offices.

In addition to collecting cell phones, Ritchie will also accept old or torn American flags in collection boxes. From the collection boxes, she will work with local veterans groups to dispose of them.

Sen. Joseph Griffo, R-Rome, and AT&T on Monday will announce a month-long partnership with Cell Phones For Soldiers to give servicemen and women deployed overseas and veterans the opportunity to call their loved ones back home. Proceeds from the recycled devices will be used to buy long distance calling cards for troops abroad and veterans at home.

This is the third year that the drive has taken place.

“The lives of military families are unique. They face a number of challenges that many of our civilian families do not have to think about. Our soldiers serving across the globe and the families they leave behind are making a tremendous sacrifice,” Ritchie said in a prepared statement. “Something we may see as a simple phone call could be the best gift our soldiers and their families receive this holiday season. I hope you’ll join me in donating an old or extra cell phone to help bring our military families a little closer together.”