CORINTH, Miss. (WTVA) -- It would be an understatement to say that family is important to those who serve in the military.
"The connection has to be there. Morale has to be there. Cohesion within the unit has to be there in order for the unit to function as a well-oiled machine," U.S. Air Force recruiter Sgt. Josh Harville said. "You have to have that drive, that motivation. You have to have that heart [with which] you joined the military."
Harville says that can't be achieved without staying in touch.
However, those bills can get expensive. In his experience, he racked up thousands of dollars easily while he served away from his family.
Then his wife started an initiative in Corinth, Cell Phones for Soldiers.
The reason she did it might be somewhat surprising.
“When Seth Ricketts passed away in March of 2010, I drove through town that morning...and I saw all the yellow ribbons," volunteer Chessica Harville said. "They were on every ribbon, every billboard. And as a military wife, I thought, ‘Wow.’ I just knew that if our community could buy a ribbon for $5 to benefit a family -- one family -- what could they do to benefit multiple families?”
The answer: a lot, according to Chessica.
She says they’ve had thousands of cell phones dropped off in the two years she’s been doing this.
Cell Phones for Soldiers is a national program with drives all over the country.
And Chessica, being a military wife, knew something about the struggles and stresses a military family goes through.
“I want people to understand that we will always have soldiers that are misplaced from their families because they have to go to the call of duty. It’s hard being a military spouse, but it’s even harder being a member of the military," Chessica Harville said. "It’s so important for us to recognize our military and our soldiers who are doing the everyday job that we take for granted that we have here.”
Chessica Harville adds that donating a cell phone is as simple as digging it out and dropping it off.
In fact, it doesn’t matter whether the cell phone even works or not, because she said all donated cell phones are recycled. The proceeds from that supply calling cards to military men and women.
Sgt. Harville said the outreach they’ve seen in Corinth and surrounding areas inspires him because of what it represents.
“Every single one of us in the military services: we join this for a major reason, to be involved in selfless acts. And for members of our community to take the simplest thing as a cell phone and donate it to this program, it’s a selfless act that gives a member who’s deployed overseas who’s away from his home, that’s away from his heart, away from his family, a 90-minute phone card,” he said.