King George News

Cathy Dyson writes about King George County. You can email her at

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Fire department collects used phones so troops can stay in touch

Through Nov. 1, King George Fire Rescue and Emergency Services is collecting used cell phones to help troops overseas keep in touch with loved ones.

The department is partnering with the nonprofit group, Cell Phones for Soldiers Inc. Phones can be dropped off at the department’s Co. 1 headquarters, off State Route 3, and at the Dahlgren station.

Katie Coulter, a 2011 graduate of King George High School, recently enlisted in the Navy and proposed the cell-phone collection to Capt. Shawn Simmons of the department. Simmons and her father both served in the Navy and her son, Bryan McDermott, is currently in boot camp.

“I absolutely understand the importance of being able to stay in contact with your family,” Simmons said.

Cell Phones for Soldiers was founded in 2004 by two teenagers and has provided 192 million minutes of free talk time to service people stationed around the world. Funds raised from recycling cellular phones are used to purchase prepaid international calling cards. The program distributes 12,000 calling cards a week to bases around the world and hospitals, in care packages and during deployment ceremonies.

About half the donated phones are reconditioned and reused. Those that can’t be refurbished are recycled for parts from circuit boards, chargers, battery packs and phone cases.