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Unwanted cell phones precious commodity for soldiers

Date: 11/9/2010

Nov. 20, 2010

By G. Michael Dobbs

Managing Editor

GREATER SPRINGFIELD -- Do you have any cell phones around the house you are no longer using? A Norwell-based charity is teaming up with FMC Ice Sports to collect unused or discarded cell phones to raise money for prepaid calling cards for soldieries serving overseas.

FMC is the management company for both the Fitzpatrick Rink in Holyoke and the Smead Rink in Springfield and from Nov. 11 through Nov. 14, the employees at the rinks will be collecting discarded cell phones.

Kristin Nicholls, the spokesperson for FMC, told Reminder Publications this is the first time the company has teamed with Cell Phones for Soldiers ( and did so because many of the people who use the rinks as well as FMC employees have family members or friends who are serving overseas.

Robbie and Brittany Berquist founded Cell Phones for Soldiers in 2004 with the goal of supplying military men and women with prepaid phone cards. Starting with their own funds -- $21 -- the organization has since raised nearly $2 million and bought more than 500,000 prepaid calling cards.

Nicholls said the phones do not have to include a charger or even work. They are sold to a recycling company, ReCellular, to raise the money for the calling cards.

The phones can be donated during the public skate times. At Fitzpatrick those times are from 11 a.m. to 12:50 p.m. and from 3 to 4:40 p.m. on Nov. 11; from 3 to 4:50 p.m. on Nov. 12 and from 2 to 3:30 p.m. on Nov. 13.

The donation times for the Smead Arena are from 10:45 a.m. to 12:35 p.m. on Nov. 11; from 10:30 a.m. to 12:20 p.m. on Nov. 12 and from 2:30 to 4:20 p.m. on Nov. 14.

Cell Phones for Soldiers offers free instructions on how to erase personal information from cell phones before contributing them on its Web site.

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