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SBC Retirees Who Served In World War II Participate In National Memorial Dedication

Submitted by: SBC Communications Inc.

Categories: Philanthropy & Corporate Contributions

Posted: May 27, 2004 – 12:00 AM EST


$3.3 million SBC contribution helped build new World War II Memorial

May 27 /CSRwire/ - SAN ANTONIO - SBC Communications Inc. is sending 15 World War II veterans who worked at SBC to the National World War II Memorial dedication ceremonies in Washington, D.C. on Saturday, May 29 to honor the involvement of SBC retirees in this historical event. SBC Communications was among the first companies nationwide to view the World War II memorial project as an essential form of recognition for the millions of men and women who served during that time, contributing $3.3 million to the memorial's construction.

"More than 19,000 SBC employees served in the military during World War II," said Forrest Miller, group president - external affairs and planning for SBC Communications. "Dating back to the First World War, SBC companies have offered programs for employees who served in the armed forces and supported the military in the U.S. and abroad. Being a part of this memorial and providing this special recognition for our own retirees who are World War II veterans is a fitting extension of our commitment to the armed forces."

In addition to the SBC employees that served during World War II, more than 150,000 employees worked for SBC companies and supported the war on the home front. About two-thirds of these employees were women. Today, nearly 200 SBC employees are on deployment serving in the armed forces.

Among the SBC retirees joining the delegation is John Russell from Redding, Calif. He was a radio operator/gunner in the U.S. Army Air Corps and spent 13 months as a prisoner of war in Germany. He retired from an SBC company after 40 years of service.

"We live in the greatest country in the world, and I believe the sacrifices we made in World War II made it possible for future generations to enjoy the privileges of being an American," said Russell. "This memorial means so much to my entire generation. I am thankful for the SBC contribution, and I am proud to go to D.C. to represent the company."

The 15 SBC retirees participating in the National World War II Memorial dedication include:

  • Marvin Burlison (Plano, Texas) - U.S. Navy - Atlantic Theater
  • Walter Clarke (New Haven, Conn.) - U.S. Army - Pacific Theater
  • W.D. Cody (Tulsa, Okla.) - U.S. Army - Atlantic Theater, Purple Heart recipient
  • William Cox (North Olmstead, Ohio) - U.S. Navy - Pacific Theater
  • William Estep (Wichita, Kan.) - U.S. Navy - Pacific Theater
  • Dale Hendricks (Colfax, Wis.) - U.S. Navy - Pacific Theater
  • Bennie Keech (Yuba City, Calif.) - U.S. Army - Atlantic Theater, Purple Heart and Bronze Star recipient
  • Claude Lovett, Jr. (San Antonio, Texas) - U.S. Army - Atlantic Theater, recipient of Distinguished Service Cross, Purple Heart, two Silver Stars and two Bronze Stars
  • James McMains (Mablevale, Ark.) - U.S. Army - Atlantic Theater
  • Virginia "Gin" Prentice (Reno, Nev.) - Telephone operator - United States
  • John Russell (Redding, Calif.) - U.S. Army Air Corps - Atlantic Theater, Purple Heart and Prisoner of War Medal recipient
  • Joseph Sanders (Scott City, Mo.) - U.S. Navy - Pacific Theater
  • Wilburt "Bud" Silva (San Leandro, Calif.) - U.S. Marines - Pacific Theater
  • Katherine Leavy Smith (Rochester, Ill.) - U.S. Navy Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service (WAVES) - United States
  • Eddie Stolpe (Eau Claire, Wis.) - U.S. Navy - Pacific Theater
The memorial also honors the efforts of citizens serving stateside. Gin Prentice from Reno, Nev. worked as an operator serving a Calif. army general hospital and represents this important group. "One of my fondest memories was trying to complete a call from a soldier on base to his girlfriend in Chicago. He made this call twice a week, but on this night there was no answer in Illinois so he waited to try again," recalled Prentice, who worked for SBC Communications for 50 years. "That same evening, his girlfriend placed a call from outside the base to say she flew in to surprise him. I recognized her voice and since he was trying his call again, I completed the call. He proposed and she accepted. The whole night crew received a large box of See's candy as a thank-you."

In 2000, the SBC Foundation - the philanthropic arm of SBC Communications - provided a $3 million grant to help make the national memorial construction possible. SBC employees and retirees generated an additional $300,000 in contributions to help build the first national memorial dedicated to all who served during World War II. This contribution marks one of the largest gifts given to create the memorial.

SBC Pioneers - a volunteer group of SBC employees and retirees - also spearheaded a grassroots campaign to let friends, family members, neighbors and community leaders know about the importance of the World War II Memorial initiative.

The National World War II Memorial, established by the American Battle Monuments Commission, honors all military veterans of the war, the citizens on the home front, the nation at large and the idealism that motivated the nation's call to arms. It is one of the largest memorials in Washington, D.C. The dedication ceremony will take place on Saturday, May 29 and weekend events are planned to celebrate the memorial and pay tribute to the service and sacrifice of America's World War II generation.

"It is because of the generous support of contributors like SBC Communications that we can bring the memorial to life," said Betsy Glick, director of communications for the National World War II Memorial. "This is our opportunity to celebrate the greatest generation of Americans for the sacrifices and commitment they made in the name of freedom."

The SBC Foundation is the charitable giving arm of SBC Communications Inc. The SBC Foundation supports efforts that enrich and strengthen diverse communities nationwide, particularly those with an emphasis on education and technology and those that benefit underserved populations. SBC Foundation-backed programs are designed to increase access to information technologies, broaden technology training and professional skills development, and effectively integrate new technologies to enhance education and economic development. The Foundation Center has consistently ranked the SBC Foundation among the nation's top six corporate foundations. In 2002, the SBC Foundation launched SBC Excelerator, a multimillion dollar competitive grants program that funds nonprofit organizations in their efforts to digitally connect communities.

SBC Communications Inc. (NYSE: SBC) is a Fortune 50 company whose subsidiaries, operating under the SBC brand, provide a full range of voice, data, networking, e-business, directory publishing and advertising, and related services to businesses, consumers and other telecommunications providers. SBC holds a 60 percent ownership interest in Cingular Wireless, which serves more than 24 million wireless customers. SBC companies provide high-speed DSL Internet access lines to more American consumers than any other provider and are among the nation's leading providers of Internet services. SBC companies also now offer satellite TV service. Additional information about SBC and SBC products and services is available at

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