Tailgating with the Troops to connect soldiers in Iraq with Wis. family members

Still time for families to register to connect (for free) with loved ones serving in any of Wisconsin’s National Guard Units; connection scheduled for Oct. 18.

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.

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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For more information contact:
Cindy Tomlinson, Associate Manager – PR
TDS Telecommunications Corp.
608-664-4471 / cindy.tomlinson@tdstelecom.com

TDS Telecommunications LLC (TDS Telecom/TDS®) delivers high-speed internet, TV entertainment, and phone services to a mix of small to mid-sized urban, suburban and rural communities throughout the U.S. With 1.2 million connections, TDS is a rapidly growing technology company. Powered by fiber-optics and new industry-leading technologies, TDS delivers up to 8 Gigabit internet speeds and offers internet-protocol based TV entertainment solutions along with traditional phone services. TDS also offers businesses VoIP advanced communications solutions, dedicated internet service, data networking, and hosted-managed services. Visit tdstelecom.com.

TDS Telecom, headquartered in Madison, Wis., employs 3,400 people and is a subsidiary of Telephone and Data Systems, Inc. [NYSE: TDS]. Founded in 1969, Telephone and Data Systems provides wireless, broadband, video and voice; and hosted and managed services to approximately 6 million connections nationwide through its businesses: UScellular, TDS Telecom, and OneNeck IT Solutions. Visit tdsinc.com.

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