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Dell, Operation Homelink Provide 150 Computers for Families of Deployed Fort Bragg Soldiers

October 14, 2005 - Fayetteville, N.C., (Business Wire)
Reuters Press Release

October 4, 2005 - Mike Bockman of the 82nd Airborne, his wife Jennifer and infant son Michael pick up one of 150 computers distributed at Fort Bragg, NC. These computers were donated by Dell.

A group of 150 soldiers serving overseas with the 82nd Airborne Division are now only an e-mail away from their families back at Fort Bragg. Dell (NASDAQ:DELL) today announced the donation of 150 refurbished desktop computers to Fort Bragg families in collaboration with Operation Homelink, a non-profit organization that provides older but still useful computers at no cost to the parents and spouses of junior enlisted, deployed service men and women deployed outside of the continental United States.

Dell and Operation Homelink first teamed in April 2004 when the company donated 100 refurbished computers to families at Fort Hood near Killeen, Texas. "Dell is committed to supporting our troops and helping to ensure that those who need technology have access to it," said Troy West, vice-president of Dell Federal. "Our partnership with Operation Homelink provides an opportunity for us to act on both of these commitments, and we're proud to once again support Operation Homelink's important work." Operation Homelink accepts donations of qualified end-of-life computers from corporations, and the group depends on corporate donations to keep up with increasing demand.

For more information on requirements and how corporations can donate, visit www.operationhomelink.org. "Because of Dell's generosity, more military families will soon be communicating faster and more easily with their deployed loved ones," said Dan Shannon, founder and president of Operation Homelink. "There are thousands more who qualify for the program; however, we can't keep up with demand. We hope that other companies will follow Dell's lead and provide retired systems to our cause." Dell's involvement with Operation Homelink underscores the company's commitment to providing technology access to those who need it -- at school, at home or deployed halfway around the world. Programs include the Dell TechKnow program, which provides low-income students with an opportunity to earn a home computer.


America Supports You: 100 Military Families Get Free Computers

American Forces Press Service

MCGUIRE AIR FORCE BASE, N. J. , Dec. 9, 2005 – Operation Homelink, in cooperation with Northrop Grumman, presented 100 refurbished computers to military families from several New Jersey bases, including McGuire Air Force Base, Fort Dix, Fort Monmouth and Lakehurst Naval Air Station. The computers were distributed Dec. 8 at McGuire's Family Support Center.

"This computer will provide my parents piece of mind because they will be able to email me to know that I've doing okay and I'll know that everything is fine at home," said Spc. Katherine Quiring, with the Army National Guard's 250th Adjutant General Detachment out of Fort Dix, N. J. "Given the different time zones, it will make communicating during deployments much easier. (Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.

Most servicemembers have e-mail access on ships and even in desert outposts. Lower-ranking military families, however, are often not able to afford computers, and must rely on other methods of staying in touch, such as postal mail or expensive phone calls to stay in touch. Operation Homelink, an all-volunteer, nonprofit organization, links American servicemembers deployed overseas with their families back home through e-mail communication using computers donated from corporations.

Deploying servicemembers were thankful for Homelink's efforts.

"This is a Godsend," said Jennifer Lahn, whose husband Michael is a private in the Army National Guard's 117th Cavalry Regiment out of Vineland, N. J. "Thanks for making the miles disappear."

"This computer will provide my parents piece of mind because they will be able to email me to know that I've doing okay and I'll know that everything is fine at home," said Spc. Katherine Quiring, with the Army National Guard's 250th Adjutant General Detachment out of Fort Dix, N. J. "Given the different time zones, it will make communicating during deployments much easier."

"Northrop Grumman understands the importance for military families to have the ability to communicate with their deployed servicemen and women," said Kent Schneider, president of Northrop Grumman Information Technology sector's Defense Enterprise Solutions business unit.

He said his company understands the importance of service families staying in touch with their deployed servicemembers. "We support the mission of Operation Homelink and can't think of a better way to 'recycle' computer resources," Schneider said.

"Operation Homelink is looking for a few good corporations to support our military families by simply sending us their old computers. No additional monetary donation is required," said Dan Shannon, president and founder of Operation Homelink. "We are especially appreciative of the support that Northrop Grumman has provided, donating over 350 computers to date."

Homelink officials said they need at least 25 used computers right now - laptops with Pentium II-equivalent power and desktops units with Pentium III power - so that families can connect properly with their servicemembers.

To date, Operation Homelink has successfully linked more than 1,200 families.

September 1, 2005 - "Connecting the Troops to Their Families"

by Nicole Lewis
The Chronicle of Philanthropy Website

A poem tacked to a wall in a room at the North Riverside Armory, in Illinois, pushed Dan Shannon to change jobs and spend $20,000 of his own money to start a charity that helps military families stay in touch.

The poem, "I Got Your Back," was written by the wife of a deployed service member and opens with the lines: "I am a small and precious child, my Dad's been sent to fight/The only place I'll see his face is in my dreams at night."

"By the time I had finished reading that poem, I knew this was something I had to do," says Mr. Shannon, 45, a commercial real-estate manager and father of four who never served in the armed forces.

Three years ago, Mr. Shannon visited the armory to talk about an idea he had. He wanted to solicit used computers, refurbish them, and give them to the families of low-paid enlisted military personnel, to help them communicate easily during times of separation.

News reports of more and more National Guard members having to leave their families -- and often taking a pay cut from their civilian jobs to serve overseas -- spurred Mr. Shannon to wonder how he could help the people left behind.

"The image I had was a wife up in the middle of the night with two sick little kids and their pay has just been cut in half," he says. "At the same time, the company I was working for had 10 computers in the basement."

The image, along with the poem, propelled Mr. Shannon to form Operation Homelink, a charity that provides free refurbished computers to parents or spouses of deployed service members with modest salaries. Read more...

November 1 , 2005 - Gulfport, Mississippi - "Computers Help Families Keep in Touch"

by Michelle Fayard, Commander, 1st Naval Construction Division Public Affairs
America Supports You Website

Through the efforts of Operation Homelink, personnel stationed at Naval Construction Battalion Center, Gulfport, were able to receive 100 free, refurbished computers. The PCs, which are valued at more than $30,000, were given away during a four-hour period Oct. 28 to military families impacted by Hurricane Katrina, particularly those who have a service member preparing to deploy overseas.

This is an outstanding opportunity for our troops who suffered loss, said Cmdr. Rodney Duggins, supply officer at the Seabee base. Northrop Grumman™, one of the government's largest providers of information technology systems and services, donated all 100 computer systems.

Each command on base was allocated a percentage of the computers, based on the commands size. A master list of eligible personnel was generated, and each service member had only to fill out an application form before picking up a computer station.

It's amazing, said Storekeeper 1st Class Frisly Garcia of the 22nd Naval Construction Regiment. For the kids at home, it's the best thing we've ever had. We can use it for our daughter to do homework, too. While most service members have access to e-mail on ships or other remote outposts, the situation often is different for their families back home.

So far Operation Homelink has been able to successfully link more than 1,100 families with their troops overseas. Spouses or parents of troops within the junior-level pay grades of E-1 to E-5 are eligible to receive donated computers. Operation Homelink's technology partners provide professional refurbishment services and ensure existing information is wiped clean from the computer's hard drives. The computers then are tested, reloaded with new operating systems and modems, and shipped in bulk to the selected base.

Although Operation Homelink is unable to accept individual requests for a computer, the organization works with corporations such as Northrop Grumman, who decide which base they would like to support.

This is a great way to help military families, as well as hurricane victims, said Dan Shannon, founder and president of Operation Homelink. Businesses wanting to help support local military communities with donations of computers should visit www.operationhomelink.org, Shannon added.

Operation Homelink, a non-profit organization, was founded three years ago in response to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. The program is based in Chicago.


Newport News, Virginia

May 20, 2005 - America Supports You: Donated Computers Help Families Keep in Touch

American Forces Press Service

Remember mail call during M*A*S*H? Radar would walk around and hand out little dollops of home to Hawkeye, Trapper John, and Henry Blake. The mail was always old, sometimes months, and the newspapers that often came along were much more "papers" than "news," arriving long after the stories were relevant.

Of course, e-mail has changed mail call in the military, with the Pentagon setting up more than 500 e-mail kiosks around the globe to enable troops to connect to home.

What happens on the back end though? The average E-1 family lives on a meager $14,750 a year. What are the chances that they can afford a computer with broadband wireless access to speak to deployed loved ones?

Despite the e-mail kiosks erected by DoD, families at home often lack the connectivity to read the communications from loved ones, and they must rely on each unit's "Radar O'Reilly" to place an expensive phone call or to distribute the mail.

For 100 junior-enlisted military families stationed around Fort Eustis, Va., this reality changed today.

"Operation Homelink," in cooperation with CDW Government Inc. and the United Service Organizations of Hampton Roads, presented 100 refurbished computers to families of soldiers and airmen stationed locally.

Families of soldiers in the Army's 7th Transportation Group and 8th Transportation Brigade at Fort Eustis, as well as airmen in the Air Force's 1st Fighter Wing at Langley Air Force Base, received free computers.

While most service members have access to e-mail on ships or other remote outposts, the situation often is different for their families back home. Junior enlisted military families are often not able to afford computers, and must rely on slow postal service or expensive phone calls to stay in touch, officials said.

Operation Homelink, an all-volunteer nonprofit organization, strives to link American troops deployed overseas with their families through e-mail using donated computers.

Operation Homelink's technology partners provide professional refurbishment services and ensure existing information is wiped clean from the computers' hard drives. The computers are then tested, reloaded with new operating systems and modems, and shipped in bulk to the selected unit.

"Operation Homelink is always looking for a few good companies, such as CDW-G, to support our military families by donating old computers," said Dan Shannon, president and founder of Operation Homelink. "Not only does this type of donation allow a company to support the military community, it reduces unnecessary costs for storing the unused computers and reduces waste."

So far, Operation Homelink has been able to successfully link more than 800 families with their troops overseas. Spouses or parents of troops within the junior-level pay grades (E-1 to E-5) are eligible to receive donated computers. The USO and other military-support agencies help determine which specific units will receive computers.

"Operation Homelink is a great program to keep families close while separated due to deployments. We are proud to be a partner in such a worthwhile program," said John Gentile, president and CEO of the USO of Hampton Roads. Operation Homelink accepts donations of qualified end-of-life computers from corporations.

Large donations (minimum 25) of used computers are needed to effectively connect the thousands of military families wishing to communicate with their soldiers. Donated computers must be at least Pentium II laptops or Pentium III desktops. Such donations are tax-deductible and have the added benefit of reducing the number of computers filling landfills, program officials said.

"A letter to a loved one may take weeks to transit from the United States to a loved one on deployment in Iraq or Afghanistan," said Max Peterson, CDW-G vice president of federal sales. "These machines will take an infrequent, multi-week process of communicating with families, and turn it into a daily, 30-second activity.

"Now that is an information revolution," he added.

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