WOBURN, MA — As recovery and disaster relief efforts continue along the Gulf Coast in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, Verizon Wireless, the nation's most reliable wireless carrier, has made aid to Hurricane Katrina, evacuees and emergency personnel a priority. The company has donated wireless phones and service, temporary wireless network support via COWs (Cell on Wheels), money and volunteer support to the recovery and rebuilding work. With more than 95 percent of its service restored and as national efforts continue, Verizon Wireless New England is also lending a hand at home within the six-state region.
Massachusetts: In Massachusetts, Verizon Wireless New England delivered nearly 200 wireless phones and airtime to the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) for use by its staff and evacuees housed at Otis Air Force Base on Cape Cod. The donation was made so those who have been displaced by this disaster have a short-term means to communicate with family, friends, employers, medical professionals, and anyone else they need to connect with while away from home. The company also packed and delivered gift items for dissemination to evacuees by the local Salvation Army including water bottles, mints, blankets, luggage tags, mini-basketballs/footballs, clothing and duffle bags. Verizon Wireless has also provided information on immediate job openings in New England for those who are interested and qualified.
New Hampshire: Verizon Wireless activated and delivered nearly 40 wireless phones with service at no charge to the New Hampshire National Guard for use by its members during travel (convoy and flight) to aid Hurricane victims. Additionally, the company deployed locally-based COWs (Cell on Wheels) to boost wireless coverage for Guardsmen and emergency services personnel.
"The company provided much needed communications tools to our personnel, which has helped us support recovery efforts in the Gulf Coast area devastated by Hurricane Katrina," said Maj. John Bassett of the New Hampshire National Guard.
Rhode Island: The New England region has also donated 35 phones with service to the Rhode Island Emergency Management Agency (RI-EMA) to assist with evacuees being housed at the Newport Naval Station in Rhode Island.
Verizon Wireless New England employees are also counted among the thousands of employees nationwide who have tripled cash donations through the Verizon Foundation. The Verizon Foundation established a special disaster relief program to help the victims of Hurricane Katrina by matching 2-to-1 employee contributions to the American Red Cross-the donations now total more than $8 million. Furthermore, Verizon Wireless has created a message center entitled "Hurricane Katrina: Employee Connections," where impacted Verizon Wireless employees can access offers of housing, automobiles, and airline mileage from co-workers nationwide on an ongoing basis. This company support program was created to aid the 300 affected Gulf coast employees with their recovery process.
Use Your Wireless Phone to Donate to American Red Cross
Customers interested in joining relief efforts using their wireless phone can do so by sending a message to the address 2HELP or 24357 using the key word "help." Customers will receive a reply message asking them to confirm a donation of $5.00 to the American Red Cross. If yes, customers press "Y" and SEND on their phone keypad. Those customers wishing to donate more can send up to four additional text messages to 2HELP, for a total contribution of $25.00. The '2HELP' campaign began in September and will operate through Oct. 31, 2005. The donations will appear on the customer's next monthly bill, and the entire amount of each donation will be provided to the American Red Cross for Hurricane Katrina relief efforts. Standard text messaging rates apply, and the donated funds will be sent to the American Red Cross when the program is completed.
About Verizon Wireless
Verizon Wireless owns and operates the nation's most reliable wireless network, serving 47.4 million voice and data customers. Headquartered in Bedminster, NJ, Verizon Wireless is a joint venture of Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) and Vodafone (NYSE and LSE: VOD). Find more information on the Web at www.verizonwireless.com. To preview and request broadcast-quality video footage and high-resolution stills of Verizon Wireless operations, log on to the Verizon Wireless Multimedia Library at www.verizonwireless.com/multimedia.