LENOIR, N.C. — One mother at the Shelter Home of Caldwell County desperately wanted to return to work, but feared for her safety because her batterer, who had previously fractured both her arms, routinely violated the court's protection order. This woman was eventually able to locate employment and now, equipped with her Bell Atlantic Mobile wireless phone, reports to work with a sense of security.
To help more victims of domestic violence, Bell Atlantic Mobile has made a second donation of wireless phones to the shelter. Three additional phones now are available to high-risk victims of domestic violence, enabling them to quickly receive emergency police or medical attention 24 hours a day.
Bell Atlantic Mobile previously donated three wireless phones to the shelter in September. Both donations were made through the company's "Wireless at Wor..." community service program, which donates wireless technology to groups promoting domestic violence prevention and public safety, according to Larry Ingle, area sales manager for the company.
"The wireless phones donated today are specially programmed to dial 9-1-1 at the touch of a button," Ingle said. "It is our hope that these additional phones will never have to be used to report an emergency, but if a victim feels threatened, she can rest assured that help will be on the way."
The most dangerous time for domestic violence victims is when they leave their abusers, said Terri Looper, the shelter's executive director. Even with protective orders and bond conditions, victims are at risk. Since abusers can and tend to disable their victims' landline phones, the donated wireless phones provide both a portable and tamper-proof lifeline.
"These phones have been a great tool to build our clients' self- esteem and provide them a sense of security," Looper said. "Once we saw just how useful these phones are to our clients, it was clear that we needed additional phones to serve those at risk."
The shelter will train domestic violence victims living at the facility to use the wireless phones. Bell Atlantic Mobile's part in the program involves donating the wireless phones and airtime.
In addition to the donation of wireless phones, Bell Atlantic Mobile last year provided the Shelter Home of Caldwell County 10 HopeLine? wireless voice mail boxes. HopeLine gives individuals, primarily homeless and domestic violence victims without access to a personal phone line, a single point of contact for communicating with family members, child care and healthcare providers, prospective employers and landlords.
The Shelter Home of Caldwell County, the first of its kind in the state when its doors opened to domestic violence victims in 1978, worked with more than 1,300 clients in 1998. In addition to serving Caldwell County, the shelter has clients from Burke, Catawba, Wilkes, Alexander and Watagua counties. The facility can house up to 30 women and children, and teaches self-reliance, fostering positive self-esteem for each resident.
Bell Atlantic Mobile owns and operates the largest wireless network in the East, covering 120,000 square miles, and the largest chain of retail outlets devoted exclusively to wireless voice, data and paging. Based in Bedminster, NJ, Bell Atlantic Mobile has 6.4 million customers and 8,000 employees from Maine to Georgia and, through a separate subsidiary, in the Southwest. Through its "Wireless at Work..." community service program, the company uses its technology to help individuals and communities improve security and emergency communications. Bell Atlantic Mobile's parent, Bell Atlantic Corporation (NYSE:BEL) is one of the world's largest wireless communications companies, with domestic operations in 25 states and international investments in Mexico, Europe and the Pacific Rim. For more information on Bell Atlantic Mobile visit: www.bam.com; on global operations visit: www.bellatlantic.com/worldwide.