Thanksgiving Day marked the fifth consecutive year that Harleysville Insurance and its independent agents teamed up in the “2 for the Troops” program to provide U.S. service members in the Middle East with free phone calls through Operation Uplink™. It was also the fourth year in a row the company sponsored a Thanksgiving Free Call Day.

Established by the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) in 1996, Operation Uplink provides free telephone talk time to active-duty U.S. military personnel and hospitalized veterans. Through the “2 for the Troops” program, Harleysville donates $2 to Operation Uplink for every personal auto and homeowners policy sold by the company’s agents. Since 2007, Harleysville’s contributions toward this special communications effort have totaled nearly $225,000.

During this year’s 24-hour Thanksgiving holiday, members of our Armed Forces stationed in Afghanistan, Iraq and Kuwait made nearly 70,000 telephone calls back home (totaling more than 800,000 minutes of free talk time) from 750 military Internet cafés located throughout the Middle East.

“The importance of continuing support for Operation Uplink cannot be overestimated,” noted Mike Penney, VFW National Military Service director and overseer of the program. “Companies like Harleysville Insurance recognize the sacrifices our servicemen and women make to preserve our freedoms, and our Thanksgiving Free Call Day helps to provide peace and comfort to military families a world apart.”

As in past years, troops were greeted by the voice of Ted Majewski, senior vice president of personal lines and president and chief operating officer of Harleysville Life, as they began their calls. “Harleysville and our agents are pleased to partner again this year with the VFW to provide you with free calls to the U.S. and to land lines in other U.S. home-based locations,” Majewski told them. “We appreciate your service to America and our thoughts and prayers are always with you.”

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