"I love to hear his voice because at least I know he's okay," Terri Lancenese of Westampton told Action News that she lives for the phone calls from her husband, Sgt. Bill Lancenese. He's a helicopter mechanic with the New Jersey National Guard and is currently deployed in Iraq.
"Like an addiction, you gotta have that phone call. If you don't get that phone call all kinds of things go through your head," Lancenese said.
To make way for more family phone calls for soldiers stationed overseas, Republican New Jersey State Senator Bill Baroni and New Jersey's Firemen Mutual Benevolent Association are kicking off this year's drive to collect pre-paid phone cards for our troops."I want to make sure every New Jerseyan, every man (and) woman fighting for our National Guard over in Iraq has the ability to talk to their family members back home during the holidays." Baroni told reporters.
Last year, through donations from the public, this drive collected over 20,000 pre-paid minutes of talk time for area troops. National Guard members who were stationed in Iraq last Christmas say the phone cards help them survive the separation from family.
"Calling them just to say 'I love you' or 'I miss you' or to hear them. I have a 2 year-old and an 8 year-old. It made a world of difference the phone card," said Sgt. Marsha Grant of Neptune, N.J.
"It's probably one of the best gifts I could get. To be able to speak with them and these phone cards give us the opportunity to do that," Sgt. Sean Chapman of Marlton, N.J. told Action News.
If you'd like to help military families connect this Christmas, you can donate calling cards by sending them to senator Bill Baroni's office:
- State Senator Bill Baroni
3691a Nottingham Way
Hamilton Square, N.J. 08690