Donated Phone Cards Answer Holiday Call For Military, Local Families

Nearly 650 Mississippi national guardsmen will spend the holidays near the Iraqi war zone, thousands of miles from their families. But thanks to Beau Rivage and AT&T, the soldiers and their families will get to spend a few precious minutes together.

Beau employees brought boxes of used cell phones to the Gulfport AT&T store to answer a prayer.

"It's like that commercial, it's priceless," said Beau Rivage employee Judy Murphy.

As the wife of a retired Seabee, Murphy knows the value of a cell phone, especially when a loved one is deployed in a danger zone half way around the world. She donated one of her phones to AT&T.

"Just to hear your family's voice, to know that they're okay and to let them know that you're okay, it's phenomenal. I mean it's worth any present, any kind of gift you could give anybody," she said.

Murphy spent time Friday with Major General Harold Cross. Mississippi's Adjutant General was just in Iraq, visiting deployed Mississippi National Guard troops.

"Their morale is high," Cross said.

With the help of a carefully wrapped package from some elves at Beau Rivage and AT&T, their morale should get a boost.

"This is a gift of love to them that sends that message loud and clear," Cross said.

Beau Rivage employees donated 200 used cell phones to AT&T's Cell Phones for Soldiers campaign. Each recycled phone paid for 100 free phone cards that will be shipped to Mississippi troops stationed near the war zone. Tommy Schrader is AT&T's area manager.

"To be able to give them some prepaid cards so they can call their loved ones back home, especially this time of year, just puts us at great peace," he said.

According to the general, the gift from Beau Rivage and AT&T "goes a long way to our spirit, which will go a long way toward winning the global war on terror."

The phone cards should arrive in Iraq between Christmas and New Year's.

AT&T's goal this year is to send more than a million dollars worth of prepaid phone cards to military personnel in Iraq. If you have a used phone, and you'd like to help the Cell Phones for Soldiers campaign, you can bring that phone to any AT&T store.