Wounded Heroes Receive Welcome Home, Free Phone Cards

Three days a week, specially equipped Air Force transports fly precious cargo from Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany into Andrews Air Force Base just outside Washington, D.C. They are returning wounded heroes from Iraq and Afghanistan to America.

And since 2004, a full-time Army team has been there to greet and assist them.

“We’re officially known as the Army Liaison Team at Andrews,” explained Col. John Maietta, the current team chief. “We personally welcome wounded troops home and thank them for their service, help carry them off the planes, and let them know where they’re going.

“We also encourage them to call their families,” he continued. “That’s why the phone cards are such a blessing.”

Maietta was glad to receive a supply of VFW Operation Uplink™ phone cards to distribute to the wounded warriors they help transition into military hospitals across the country each week.

“Once they arrive at Andrews, they have individual bedside phones and access to phones in the hospital day room,” Maietta said. “It’s always a good sign to see nearly everyone calling home!”

Maietta also finds the cards helpful since, due to strict patient privacy rules, the only way family members can know the medical status of a service member is if the service member makes the call.

“The chance for wounded troops to contact their loved ones at no cost after they’ve reached American soil is a tremendous benefit,” he noted.

The Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Foundation supports through the generosity of donors the VFW Operation Uplink™ phone cards program. In fact, more than 10,000,000 phone cards have been distributed to troops overseas and to our brave heroes recovering in Veterans Affairs medical centers and military hospitals. We also provide additional communication options via Voice over Internet Protocol (VOIP) on holidays such as Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, etc. – a typical call day averaged between 80,000 - 90,000 conversations with more than 12 million minutes of talk-time in 2008!

The Foundation uses contributions for numerous other unique and beneficial programs such as:

• Unmet Needs, which aids troops and their families with a one-time cash donation for rent, mortgage, utilities, vehicle repair, medical expenses and food/basic assistance – more than $2,800,000 awarded so far.

• Military Assistance Program provides morale-boosting “welcome home” or “sendoff” events for military units.

• National Veterans Service gives help for veterans in their entitlement claims with the VA. Of special interest is our pledge to meet with almost all recently discharged troops from Iraq and Afghanistan as they return home via group dispersals.

By supporting the Foundation, you will ensure our important mission to care for U.S. troops abroad, their families back home and America’s often forgotten veterans.

Please note that all of our services are free of charge, provided to all branches of the U.S. military including National Guard units and with no VFW affiliation required for assistance.

Thank you for considering us as your charity of choice!

To support the Veterans of Foreign Wars Foundation, designate CFC #10511.