JOLIET, Ill. – This week 400 Illinois National Guardsmen and women from the 1st battalion, 178th Infantry Regiment will begin their prepping for a yearlong deployment to Afghanistan. State Rep. Larry Walsh, D-Elwood, is urging local residents to help provide those solders with a free way to call home by donating gently-used mobile phones through Cell Phones for Soldiers Inc. at his district office located at 121 Springfield Ave. in Joliet.

“This is the largest deployment of Illinois National Guard members in a decade and we need to do everything we can to help support them,” Walsh said. “The least we can do is support those who serve in our armed forces and their families.”

The National Guard unit Walsh is referring to are members of the 1st Battalion of the 178th Infantry Regiment (1-178 IN), of which some are stationed at the Joliet Armory. Walsh is asking residents to consider donating gently used cell phones valued at $5 or more, which can help get a solider two-and-a-half hours of free time to talk with loved ones back home. To date Cell Phone for Soldiers’ “Minutes That Matter Program” has provided over 300 million minutes of talk time to our troops serving around the world.

“These soldiers are interrupting their own lives, leaving their families for a year, to support counter-terrorism efforts and help keep us safe,” Walsh said. “I encourage everyone to donate leftover cell phones to give these local men and women opportunities to talk to loved one while they’re away.”

Soldiers from 1-178 IN are currently undergoing additional training prior to deploying in Fort Bliss, Texas. For more information on this event or similar drives for members of the U.S. Armed Forces, please contact Walsh’s constituent office by phone at 815-730-8600 or email

Rep. Lawrence Walsh, JrRep. Lawrence Walsh, Jr

86th District

Springfield Office:
200-9S Stratton Office Building
Springfield, IL 62706
(217) 782-8090

District Office:
121 Springfield Avenue
Joliet, IL 60435
(815) 730-8600