Sprint Contribution Boosts Stars and Stripes Distribution
By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, July 27, 2004 Communications giant Sprint is doing its part to support U.S. troops. However, phones and minutes are not involved. The company has donated $10,000 to Stars and Stripes to provide 20,000 copies of the paper to service members in Afghanistan, said Stripes publisher Tom Kelsch.
"That's a nice gift," Kelsch said. "It will enable us to serve the troops and get the paper to more troops than we have been. "If this were to become a trend and more companies were to join this, then we could do that much more," he added.
Officials have not decided whether to increase the number of copies provided each day or to extend the length of time it can provide the current 3,500 copies daily. Kelsch indicated they would most likely take the latter option. Tony D'Agata, vice president and general manager of Sprint Government Systems Division, and Woody Sellers, regional vice president for DoD sales, presented the $10,000 check to Kelsch July 19 at an all-hands meeting at the Stars and Stripes offices here.
"As one of our primary users of voice and data communications services, Sprint provides a variety of wireless solutions to the Department of Defense, and we're pleased to support military operations both domestically and overseas," D'Agata said in a written statement. "Our recent contribution to help distribute Stars and Stripes to troops overseas is a small token of support we could provide to help individuals stay connected with U.S. events while they are deployed."
Stephanie Taliaferro, Sprint Alliance and Government Media Relations spokeswoman, said Sprint left the decision on what region would benefit from the contribution to Stripes, with the only request being that it go where the need was greatest.
Sprint has a very active community-relations program and continually looks for ways to provide support and donations to a number of different programs, including those that support the military and their families, Taliaferro said.
This year, Sprint has been selected as one of 15 businesses from across the nation to receive the 2004 Freedom Award from the National Committee for Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve, D'Agata said. The Employer Support Freedom Award recognized the significant contributions and sacrifices made by America's employers of the Guard and Reserve. Sprint is the only telecommunications company to ever have received this honor.
Stars and Stripes currently prints a combined total of 93,000 papers a day. Of those papers, 48,000 are distributed in Iraq, 15,000 in Kuwait, 3,500 in Afghanistan and 500 in Qatar -- for a total of 67,000 papers distributed "downrange." The remainder are distributed in established markets in the European and the Pacific theaters.