OSI And Media General Honored As 2006 HopeLine Heroes For Local Florida Domestic Violence Awareness

TAMPA, FL — Verizon Wireless has named OSI Restaurant Partners, Inc. and Media General in Tampa as recipients of the company's first-ever HopeLine® Hero awards in Florida. Both companies partnered with Verizon Wireless in 2006 to help raise awareness and promote the prevention of domestic violence in the Tampa Bay area through the Verizon Wireless HopeLine program.

Established in 1995, the HopeLine program accepts no-longer used wireless phones and accessories from any wireless service provider and turns them into help and support for victims of domestic violence and the non-profit agencies and shelters critical to this cause. Another part of the HopeLine program encourages and facilitates the environmentally safe recycling of old wireless phones and batteries.

OSI Restaurant Partners, Inc. hosted a HopeLine phone drive in September and collected more than 300 used cell phones. Media General held its phone drive in mid-January and collected more than 200 phones in just a few weeks. Executives from OSI Restaurant Partners, Inc. and Media General will receive their HopeLine Hero awards in private ceremonies at the companies' local headquarters.

"Employees of these two companies worked hard to help secure additional resources for victims of domestic violence right here in Tampa Bay," said Mike Lanman, Florida region president of Verizon Wireless. "It's essential for more companies to dedicate resources to address domestic violence in our communities — a simple phone collection can make a huge impact."

In 2005 alone, HopeLine generated:

  • 850,000 phones, donated by customers of all wireless providers;

  • About 10,000 phones with airtime given free to shelters victims;

  • $750,000 dollars raised to support domestic violence prevention and awareness programs; and

  • 275,000 phones recycled.

Since the phone recycling and re-use part of the program expanded nationally in 2001, HopeLine has donated more than $8 million in financial grants, phones and services, including the donation of more than 20,000 wireless phones to agencies for victims' use, and has collected more than 2.5 million wireless phones to raise funds for domestic violence victims and advocacy organizations.

Verizon Wireless has longstanding partnerships to address this cause with leading groups throughout the U.S., including national and local domestic violence prevention organizations such as The Spring of Tampa Bay; local law enforcement; professional sports teams such as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers; colleges, universities and school systems; and corporations as well as small- and medium-sized businesses.

Used wireless phones may be donated to the Verizon Wireless HopeLine program at any Verizon Wireless retail store in Florida (see www.verizonwireless.com for a list of locations). For more information on HopeLine or to hold a collection drive at your workplace, please contact chuck.hamby@verizonwireless.com.

About Verizon Wireless Verizon Wireless owns and operates the nation's most reliable wireless network, serving 54.8 million voice and data customers. Headquartered in Basking Ridge, N.J., Verizon Wireless is a joint venture of Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) and Vodafone (NYSE and LSE: VOD). Find more information on the Web at www.verizonwireless.com. 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 www.verizonwireless.com/multimedia.