America Supports You: Calling Cards Give Troops Sports Info
By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Jan. 10, 2006 A large donation of prepaid calling cards is keeping servicemembers connected to their favorite sports teams.
Through the Coalition to Salute America's Heroes and in partnership with Stars for Stripes, EZ Scores is giving U.S. servicemembers 2.5 million prepaid calling cards, Christopher O'Donnell, EZ Scores chief executive officer, said.
EZ Scores is a Maryland-based, voice-activated sports information service that users can access from any phone, O'Donnell explained. It provides live scores for college and professional games in sports such as baseball, football, basketball and hockey, he added.
Each card is good for 400 calls. And because it can be used from any phone, servicemembers can share the personal identification number used to access the service with family and friends.
"These calling cards will be a slice of home in the troops' lives," Roger Chapin, Coalition to Salute America's Heroes founder and president, said. The coalition, according to its Web site, is a nonpartisan organization dedicated to helping disabled global war on terrorism veterans rebuild their lives after they return home.
"These cards help the coalition fulfill the mission of our family support network, which is to boost morale and inject fun into the servicemember's life," Chapin said. He added that this is one way of letting servicemembers know their service to their country is not forgotten.
Stars for Stripes began distributing the cards Nov. 22, 2005, in Kuwait and Iraq as part of its Thanksgiving holidays entertainment tour. Stars for Stripes is a nonprofit organization that provides quality entertainment to overseas deployed U.S. military forces.
The heroes' salute coalition is working with several military organizations to get the cards into the hands of servicemembers, a coalition spokesman said.
EZ Scores plans to continue its support throughout 2006. And O'Donnell said the company would like to continue working with Salute America's Heroes and Stars for Stripes, as well as the military, even further into the future.
"(Servicemembers') dedication to protecting our freedom is a debt we can never repay," O'Donnell said. "We are not a large corporation that can donate millions of dollars to a project like this. However, we can create millions of dollars' worth of value to soldiers and our supporting nonprofits by donating our services."