Family Starts Non-Profit to Pay for Soldiers’ Wi-Fi, Help Them Stay in Touch with Loved Ones
In June 2018, Morgan Resha’s husband Michael, a U.S. Army Ranger, was deployed to Afghanistan. It was just a few months after their wedding, and the newlyweds took solace in the fact that they could stay in touch online.
Or so they thought.
To access the free internet service at Bagram Air Base, Michael and a couple thousand other soldiers all relied on the MRW (morale, recreation and welfare) room, a small common area with no privacy and an unbearably slow Wi-Fi connection.
The alternative was an individual Wi-Fi service, which would cost Michael about $100 per month—an expense that was not in their budget. “It was a shock for us,” Morgan recalled to AL.com.
Fortunately, family and friends were able to chip in while he was away. And, during Michael’s latest deployment last year, the young couple was financially prepared for the cost that allowed him to FaceTime, watch movies, listen to music, etc.
But Morgan couldn’t help but think about all the other families who couldn’t afford to pay between $80 and $150 per month for individual Wi-Fi plans.
So, over Labor Day weekend of 2019, she and her mother, Laura Crumbaugh of Birmingham, Alabama, took matters into their own hands by starting a nonprofit organization to raise money to cover soldiers’ Wi-Fi expenses.
“My mom is a go-getter,” said Morgan. “She’s been on the forefront.”
By October 2019, WiFi for Warriors had its 501(c)3 status.
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“No one knew paying for Wi-Fi was a thing,” Laura told AL.com. “Thirteen months is a long time to pay $100 a month to talk to your kids.”
Thanks to corporate and individual donations, T-shirt and bumper sticker sales, and a Memorial Day fundraising event held on Lake Martin, WiFi for Warriors has managed to raise nearly $55,000 in less than a year.
Laura told AL.com that many of the applicants for Wi-Fi assistance have children, and they depend on the internet to stay connected.
“Being able to talk to family daily is huge,” she notes.
For more information, visit.WiFiForWarriors.com.