By Krystal Spring/Havre Daily Newsfirstname.lastname@example.org
Local soldiers serving overseas or stationed at military bases in another state may soon find it easier to keep in touch with loved ones back home. The Havre Post Office and VFW Post 497 have teamed up to sell and distribute phone cards, bought by community members, to soldiers from the Havre area.
"We're really just trying to show our support for our local soldiers," Havre postmaster Richard O'Leary said. "I know several Guard soldiers who are in Iraq, sitting in a desert without their family, so this is a great opportunity for them to be able to call home and talk to their families."
O'Leary said the free phone card program is open to all local soldiers away from home regardless of where they are stationed.
"We felt that all soldiers, whether stationed in Texas or Iraq, have the right to call home," he said.
The phone card campaign began just a week ago, but O'Leary said the post office has already sold more than 10 cards. He's optimistic that as word spreads about the campaign, even more cards will sell. If the phone card isn't designated by the card purchaser for a specific soldier, the VFW and the post office will choose a soldier for the card.
O'Leary said the phone card campaign is a relatively cheap and easy way for the community to show its support for area troops.
VFW post commander Jim Matter, who served with the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War, said the veterans club was eager to help out when O'Leary called. The VFW offered to supply a list of active-duty soldiers to the post office and pay the postage for all phone cards mailed to the troops.
Matter, who was stationed in Vietnam in the late 1960s, said nothing beats a letter or phone call from home.
"Mail call was the biggest event of the day," Matter said. "I looked forward to that more than anything. It's so important that we come together to continue to show support for our troops."
Phone cards can be purchased at the post office for $10, $20 or $30 a piece. Matter said community members can also include a small note of thanks or encouragement with the phone card. The cards will be sent out to troops once a week.