2008
Now families never have to be out of touch with loved ones in Iraq

Now families never have to be out of touch with loved ones in Iraq
January 9, 2008

Phil Brozynski, Media Relations Manager
(630) 829-6094
pbrozynski@ben.edu

Initially, it was just meant to be an opportunity for families to teleconference with relatives serving in the military in Iraq prior to the holidays. But the collaboration between Benedictine University and the Freedom Calls Foundation to put the families of servicemen stationed in Iraq in touch with their loved ones in the Chicago area was so successful, it has been extended indefinitely. Benedictine University will continue to offer free, half-hour video conferences to families whose loved ones are stationed at any of five camps in Iraq – Camp Taji, Al Asad Air Base, Camp Fallujah, Camp Victory (Baghdad) and Camp Taqaddum. Several families took advantage of the program to speak with their loved ones stationed in Iraq prior to Christmas. “The program was extremely well-received by these families,” said Rudy Dardy, audio-visual coordinator at Benedictine University. “It was a moving experience for everyone involved.” The Freedom Calls Foundation is a nonprofit organization that seeks to transform the experience of soldiers on extended deployments in wartime by allowing them to participate in milestone family events such as births, school graduations and anniversaries from the front lines via video conferencing. The program in which Benedictine University is participating is part of the Freedom Calls Foundation’s “Operation Hometown Link,” in which universities, hospitals and corporations around the country make their video conferencing facilities available to military families closer to their homes. The immediate families in Illinois whose loved ones are deployed at any of the five camps may contact Benedictine University at the number listed below. Benedictine will ask for certain information that is vital for contacting the soldiers. That information is then turned over to the Freedom Calls Foundation, which will contact the soldiers and schedule the conference. The soldiers must be at one of the five sites. Benedictine University’s video conferencing facilities are located in Kindlon Hall. Immediate families of servicemen stationed at one of the five bases listed are asked to contact Dardy at (630) 829-6692 to arrange their video conference. For more information about the Freedom Calls Foundation or to make a donation, visit their web site at www.freedomcalls.org.

###

Benedictine University is an independent Roman Catholic institution located in Lisle, Illinois just 25 miles west of Chicago. Founded in 1887, Benedictine provides 56 undergraduate majors, 16 graduate and four doctorate programs. The Chronicle of Higher Education recently ranked Benedictine University as the seventh fastest-growing campus among private nonprofit master’s universities, and Forbes magazine named Benedictine among the top 20 percent of America’s colleges for 2011. Benedictine University’s Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.) program is listed by Crain’s Chicago Business as the fourth largest in the Chicago area in 2011.