Today we are pleased to announce the launch of Homepage for Heroes, a new initiative that brings together the best of AOL to recognize, honor and support those that dedicate their lives to protecting and bettering ours. As May is National Military Appreciation Month, what better way to kick off this initiative than to honor the men and women who bravely serve in our military?
Through June, AOL is partnering with the USO® to create connections for U.S. military troops deployed across the world. Every time a user comes to aol.com/heroes and sets AOL as their homepage, AOL will donate 10 minutes of talk-time on their behalf. This donation will help support Operation Phone Home, a USO® program that provides free calls, high-speed Internet bandwidth and wireless access to troops in USO® Centers around the world.
And we're not stopping there. AOL will continue to honor our military service members throughout the year, by creating support and opportunity for our troops and their families:
- This month, AOL employees will be creating 30,000 care packages as part of our annual Monster Help Day. These care packages will be sent to active service members overseas, returning wounded military personnel, as well as military spouses and children right here at home. Starting July 4th, AOL users will have the opportunity to personalize these care packages, by sending their own letters of thanks and support, courtesy of the non-profit Operation Gratitude.
- Later on in the year, we'll look to raise awareness and provide support for one of the biggest challenges our troops face when returning home: re-entering the workforce. To do this, we'll leverage one of our greatest assets: our content creators. AOL will call upon experts in every field (career management, media, fashion and decorated veterans) to compile a dream team of advisors who will help military families. We'll feature one complete "career makeover" for a veteran and their family each week.
As a child in the early 1970s, I remember my Mom and Dad each wearing bracelets that contained the name, rank, service branch, country and date of loss of an American prisoner of war or service member who had gone missing in action. It was their way to show support for those brave service members who had lost their connection to both their family and their country. Years later my mother received a letter from her POW, who had returned home. The letter contained a personal thank you note, along with a picture of him, his wife and children. The letter brought home for me the fact that these were real people, with real lives and real families, making very real sacrifices for our country. Sadly, my father's POW/MIA never returned home to his family.
At AOL, it is our goal to connect our audience to the causes that they care about, and to give them the tools they need to make a difference. Homepage for Heroes is the latest installment of our ongoing commitment to that goal.