Stills Available To Media: Hurricane Katrina Evacuees Connect With Loved Ones At Verizon Wireless Emergency Communications Center In Houston

BEDMINSTER, NJ and HOUSTON — WHO:     Verizon Wireless, the nation's leading wireless service provider

WHAT:     Images of Hurricane Katrina evacuees at the Houston Astrodome and Reliant Arena making calls to loved ones — reconnecting with family either displaced from the hurricane or relatives across the country — from Verizon Wireless Emergency Communications Centers.

WHERE:     The stills can be found at  

WHEN:     Available now

BACKGROUND:     Two Verizon Wireless Emergency Communication Centers (WECCs) have been established in Houston — at the Astrodome and at the Reliant Arena — to help evacuees place calls, re-charge their phones, get technical support and assistance from customer service, free of charge. A primary concern for evacuees is locating family and friends who have been separated.

Verizon Wireless has helped reunite many families that have been separated as they were transported to Houston, as well as help evacuees reach family members that have been displaced. Many evacuees using the phones had not had access to a phone in five days. There have been several reunited moments at the WECCs — two people had been separated from spouses during the storm or the evacuation and were able to hear their spouses' voices for the first time at the WECC. One elderly couple was reunited right there on the grounds after placing a call at the WECC — neither had any idea that the other had been evacuated to the same place.

Verizon Wireless employees from other states have volunteered their assistance to the WECCs.

CONTACT:Sheryl SellawayVerizon Wireless 678.339.5564 (office) / 404.695.5564 (mobile)

In Houston: Macy Bodenhamer Verizon Wireless917.597.9955 (mobile) /  

In Gulf Coast: Patrick Kimball Verizon Wireless 281.686.1937 (mobile) /

All Other Calls: Tom Pica Verizon Wireless 908.306.4385 (office) /  


About Verizon Wireless

Verizon Wireless owns and operates the nation's most reliable wireless network, serving 47.4 million voice and data customers. Headquartered in Bedminster, NJ, Verizon Wireless is a joint venture of Verizon Communications (NYSE: VZ) and Vodafone (NYSE and LSE: VOD). Find more information on the Web at  To preview and request broadcast-quality video footage and high-resolution stills of Verizon Wireless operations, log on to the Verizon Wireless Multimedia Library at