By Lt. Steve Zanini, Administrative Assistant/PIO Folsom State Prison

Folsom State Prison donated 1,250 cell phones to Cell Phones for Soldiers, a nonprofit organization providing cost-free communication services to active-duty military members and veterans.

Warden Rick Hill approved the release of the cell phones confiscated within the prison, in 2010 and 2011.  Investigative Services Unit Sgt. J. Pagan delivered the cell phones to an authorized drop-site in Folsom. He was given a receipt for $125,000, based on the value given each cell phone by Cell Phones for Soldiers.

Cell Phones for Soldiers was founded in 2004 by Robbie and Brittany Bergquist of Norwell, Mass. They were 12 and 13 years old at the time.  The organization has prevented more than 10.5 million cell phones from ending up in landfills.

Used mobile phones from all service providers are accepted.  The cell phones are sold to a recycling company.  The money is used to purchase calling cards and free phone service for deployed and returning military personnel.

According to Bob Bergquist, father of the founders of Cell Phones for Soldiers, the organization was started as a way to show his family’s appreciation for the military personnel who sacrificed daily contact with their own families during their service in the United States armed forces.