Press Release

Gillibrand Helps Oswego Senior Dial Up Free Cell Service

Feb 19, 2010

Oswego, NY – After an Oswego senior tried for months to obtain a free cell phone under a government-backed program, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, a member of the Senate Special Committee on Aging, helped the 68 year-old resident secure one. The legally blind senior, who enjoys staying active throughout the day, feels safer now that he has a way to reach someone at all times. 

Oswego resident Ron Weaver said, “I’m glad that we have a Senator who listens to the people and their problems. I thank Senator Gillibrand and her office for helping an ordinary old guy like me. At my age, it’s essential to be able to quickly get in touch with loved ones during an emergency.” 

Senator Gillibrand said, “Having a cell phone is important to help seniors stay safe and offers them a peace of mind. I am happy to hear Mr. Weaver finally received one.”  

With the aid of his white cane, Mr. Ron Weaver makes frequent trips to the post office, grocery store, and the downtown area, totaling an average three and a half miles a day. Mr. Weaver has difficulty crossing roads and wanted to keep a cell phone with him in the event of an accident. In August, the Oswego County Office of the Aging helped him submit an application for TracFone’s SafeLink Wireless – a federal program that offers free cell phones to low-income residents. 

For months, neither Mr. Weaver nor the Office of the Aging was able to follow-up with anyone at SafeLink regarding his request. Mr. Weaver reached out to Senator Gillibrand’s office for help, who asked the Federal Communications Commission to immediately review his application. The Oswego senior recently received his mobile phone in the mail and made sure to place his emergency contacts on speed-dial.