'Without A Trace' Star Eric Close Reads to Students at Bridgewater, N.J., School as Part of Verizon's Season's Readings Campaign

BRIDGEWATER, N.J. - Eric Close, star of the CBS-TV show "Without A Trace," read to fifth- and sixth-grade students at Hillside Intermediate School Tuesday morning (Nov. 27) and took them through a detective exercise -- as part of the Verizon Foundation's Season's Readings campaign.

The annual program, now in its seventh year, has collected more than 2 million children's books for schools, libraries and nonprofit organizations throughout the country.

This year, Verizon employees at more than 300 locations will participate in the campaign, with the goal of collecting 200,000 books.

"Reading has always been a big part of my life," said Close, who plays FBI agent Martin Fitzgerald on "Without A Trace." "I am very happy to assist the Verizon Foundation and support Verizon employees' participation in the Season's Readings campaign, which spreads the knowledge and joy reading can bring."

After reading to the students, Close traveled to the Verizon Operations Center in Basking Ridge, N.J., where he talked with employees about Season's Readings and answered questions about his career.

"Year after year, our employees have demonstrated great generosity and a giving spirit that continues to make Season's Readings successful in advancing the cause of literacy in many of the communities we serve," said Verizon Foundation President Patrick Gaston.

The Verizon Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Verizon Communications, is committed to improving literacy and K-12 education through its signature program Thinkfinity.org; fostering awareness and prevention of domestic violence; and promoting the use of technology in health-care delivery.  In 2006, the foundation awarded more than $69 million in grants to nonprofit agencies in the United States and abroad. The foundation also matched charitable donations from Verizon employees and retirees, resulting in $29 million in combined contributions. Under the foundation's Verizon Volunteer initiative, one of the nation's largest employee-volunteer programs, company employees and retirees have also contributed nearly 3 million hours of community service since Verizon's inception in 2000.

For more information on the foundation, visit www.verizon.com/foundation.

Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ), headquartered in New York, is a leader in delivering broadband and other wireline and wireless communication innovations to mass market, business, government and wholesale customers.  Verizon Wireless operates America's most reliable wireless network, serving 63.7 million customers nationwide.  Verizon's Wireline operations include Verizon Business, which delivers innovative and seamless business solutions to customers around the world, and Verizon Telecom, which brings customers the benefits of converged communications, information and entertainment services over the nation's most advanced fiber-optic network.  A Dow 30 company, Verizon has a diverse workforce of nearly 238,000 and last year generated consolidated operating revenues of more than $88 billion.  For more information, visit www.verizon.com.