TDS Telecommunications: Tailgate to connect Wis. soldiers in Iraq with loved ones back home

For more information contact:

Cindy Tomlinson, Associate Manager – PR

TDS Telecommunications Corp.

608-664-4471 / [email protected]

MADISON, Wis. (Sept. 14, 2009) — A real-time video and audio connection will connect soldiers of Wisconsin’s Army National Guard Units, including the 32nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, with family members here at home for an old fashioned Wisconsin tailgating celebration. The event will include food, Packers football and multiple live video simulcasts, to various bases in the soldiers are based at in Iraq, into Veterans Memorial Coliseum at the Alliant Energy Center in Madison. There’s no cost to participate, but families must register to connect with loved ones during the tailgating event, scheduled for Oct. 18.

“Thanks to our many sponsors, loved ones serving in Iraq will be able to see and talk with family members back in Wisconsin during this first-ever tailgating with the troops celebration,” says organizer Brian Hoag. “We’re trying to get soldiers and family members to sign up so we can secure a connection during the event. Soldiers tell us they miss family time the most. Offering a day-long live connection gives them a chance to do just that. This will be a huge morale booster for both soldiers and their families.”

This first-ever state-wide, community based effort aims to thank and honor the soldiers and their families for their service to our country. As you may recall, in early 2009 more than 3,300 Wisconsin men and women were deployed to Iraq with the 32nd IBCT. This is the largest operational deployment of Wisconsin Army National Guard members since World War II.

“We’ll be using state of the art technology and equipment to make the real-time audio and video connection between our servicemen and women in Iraq and their family and friends back here in Wisconsin,” says Al Ripp of TDS Telecommunications Corp., “It’s amazing technology, and TDS is proud to provide the broadband connection and equipment that makes the connection possible.”

Even though they are tens of thousands of miles apart, the connection will allow participants to see and talk with each other while watching the Packers take on the Lions. For participants, it will feel (almost) as if they’re sitting side-by-side on the couch at home.

Organizers and events sponsors agree, hosting a family focused, fun filled connection is a small, but important, step toward showing our troops how much Wisconsinite’s appreciate their continued efforts and sacrifices.

For more information about “Tailgating with the Troops” or to register for the event visit Organizers are seeking in-kind donations, monetary donations, and volunteers to help with this event. The project cost is estimated at $300,000. All of the proceeds raised will be used to support projects of Serving the 32nd, which is strictly a volunteer organization.

Sponsors of “Tailgating with the Troops” include: Jostens, Johnsonville Sausage, Pepsi, Oscar Mayer, Culvers, Wal Mart, SAMS Club, Alliant Energy, TDS Telecommunications Corp., Green Bay Packers, Mike Marek Trucking, AgStar, Frito Lay, Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board, Wisconsin Soy Bean Growers Association, Wisconsin Corn Growers Association, Midwest Sign and Screen, Great Lakes Kraut Company, Sargento, Oshkosh, 1st National Bank, WESTconsin Credit Union, Party Unit, Oakhouse Bakery, IC System, BAE Systems, and BCT Printing.

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