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Friday, November 6, 2015

Rob Ortt
NORTH TONAWANDA -- In honor of Veterans Day on November 11, state Sen. Rob Ortt, AT&T and Niagara County Veterans Service Agency have teamed up with the nonprofit Cell Phones For Soldiers asking the community to help troops call home by donating cellular phones and tablets.

Proceeds from the recycled devices are used to buy long distance calling cards for troops at home and abroad. Although the military landscape is ever changing, as many as 200,000 troops are serving in the United States military overseas. By donating to Cell Phones For Soldiers, local residents and businesses can provide a lifeline for America's bravest.

Beginning today and lasting until Dec. 7, on the anniversary of Pearl Harbor, area residents and businesses can donate their unwanted cell phones and/or tablets at the following locations:

  • Senator Ortt's District Office: 175 Walnut St., Suite 6, Lockport
  • Lockport DMV Office: 111 Main St., Suite G1, Lockport
  • Niagara County Veterans Service Agency: 111 Main St., Suite 200, Lockport
  • Niagara Falls Housing Authority: 744 10th Street, Niagara Falls
  • North Tonawanda DMV Office: 500 Wheatfield St., North Tonawanda
  • Hoag Library: 134 S. Main St., Albion
  • Seymour Public Library: 161 East Ave., Brockport
  • All AT&T Stores in WNY

"Each year we have been humbled by the number of people and organizations like AT&T and New York State Senator Ortt that take part in this important initiative to support our military members," said Cell Phones for Soldiers co-founder Robbie Bergquist. "The communication gap between those serving and their families is a crucial need that Cell Phones For Soldiers is committed to addressing for years to come."

Sen. Ortt, R-North Tonawanda, said, "As we approach the upcoming holiday, it's important to remember and honor the men and women in the U.S. Armed Forces who have served and continue to serve our great nation. Cell Phones For Soldiers is one small way we can do that while making a big difference in their lives. I know from personal experience that staying connected to your loved ones while serving in the military helps the day pass, and makes time away from home a little bit easier. I'm privileged to be a part of this initiative in support of our troops to help keep our heroes connected."

Sen. Ortt enlisted in NY Army National Guard in October 2001 in direct response to the attacks on September 11th. He is a veteran of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan, where he served from March 2008 until December of the same year. His mission was to serve as a combat mentor/advisor to the Afghan National Police in Kandahar City in Afghanistan. Ortt's other responsibilities included ensuring that all the logistical needs of the company were met to facilitate operational readiness, coordinating and running all company meetings, and acting as the commander in his absence. He successfully moved $10 million worth of equipment to Afghanistan and back to the United States.

He is the recipient of the Bronze Star, the Army Commendation Medal, the Afghan Campaign Medal and the Combat Infantryman's Badge in recognition of his service.

Niagara County Veterans Service Agency Director Nina Cabrera said, "We're proud to be partnering with Cell Phones For Soldiers, Senator Ortt and AT&T for this worthy cause. We value the importance of supporting our troops and veterans, and this initiative to keep them connected with family members and loved ones is another way to show that we care. It's an honor to be able to give back to our military men and women who have sacrificed so much for us."

For every donated device worth at least $5, Cell Phones For Soldiers is able to provide two and a half hours of free talk time to deployed troops via calling cards.

To prepare your mobile phone for donation, here are some tips on how to erase all personal information that may be stored on it to protect your privacy:

  • Remove your phone's SIM card.  Erase your address book, photos, messages and other stored information
  • Restore the device factory settings on your device
  • For instructions on how to do this, go to owner's manual or to the manufacturer's web site

For more information on Cell Phones For Soldiers, visit

East Niagara Post is the official media sponsor of Hockey Day in Lockport.


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