Plymouth, MA— Plymouth 400’s third annual Illuminate Thanksgiving event on the historic Hedge House Lawn in downtown Plymouth drew a crowd of more than 400 people, who participated in the inspirational candle-lighting ceremony and brought to life William Bradford’s famous quote, “As one small candle may light a thousand, so the light here kindled hath shone unto many.” The youth-driven event, sponsored by Goldman Sachs Gives, featured inspirational music, dance, spoken word, and the presentation of the “One Small Candle” award which honors an individual or organization that has truly personified Bradford’s words and made a positive impact on others. This year’s recipients were members of the Bergquist Family who founded Cell Phones For Soldiers.
Cell Phones For Soldiers is a national nonprofit serving troops and veterans with free communication services and emergency funding. Founded in 2004 by Robbie and Brittany Bergquist, then 12 and 13 years old, Cell Phones For Soldiers relies on generous cash contributions and donations of gently-used cell phones to provide a lifeline for America’s bravest. Since 2004, Cell Phones For Soldiers has provided U.S. troops with more than 216 million “Minutes That Matter” and distributed more than 3 million prepaid international calling cards.
“Bradford’s quote says that just one small candle may light a thousand, and that’s a great message for all of us, especially children. It tells them that one person can make a difference in the lives of many,” said Michele Pecoraro, Executive Director of Plymouth 400. “For two years, the award has been given to young people who have done just that. We’re humbled to present Rob and Brittany Bergquist with the ‘One Small Candle’ award after reading about an idea they had to raise money for phone cards to send overseas. From their efforts, Cell Phones For Soldiers has grown into an international organization providing soldiers with millions of minutes of conversations home; a service that is truly a lifeline for members of the military whose morale depends upon staying connected to their loved ones.”
The annual presentation of the “One Small Candle” award was introduced at this year’s Illuminate Thanksgiving event by the Earl Family, who received the award last year for inspiring millions through their late daughter, Esther Grace Earl’s words of encouragement and love, which they do through their foundation called This Star Won’t Go Out.
Plymouth 400 invites the community to support Cell Phones for Soldiers by donating gently-used mobile devices to the following drop-off locations (all of which are Plymouth 400 Business Partners) through January 15:
- Amcomm Wireless (inside Verizon Wireless) in Colony Place, Plymouth
- Associated Eye Surgeons, 45 Resnik Road, Plymouth
- Merrill Engineers & Land Surveyors, 26 Union Street, Plymouth
- Pioppi’s Package Store, 183 Court Street, Plymouth
- Plymouth Area Chamber of Commerce, 134 Court Street, Plymouth
- Sullivan Tire and Auto Service, 5 Pilgrim Hill Road, Plymouth
- Sullivan Tire and Auto Service, 38 Main Street, Kingston
- VFW Post #1899, 22 Seven Hills Road, Plymouth
About Plymouth 400, Inc.
Plymouth 400, Inc. is a not-for-profit organization in Plymouth, Massachusetts formed to lead the planning and execution of programs and events commemorating the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower voyage and the founding of Plymouth Colony in 2020. The Plymouth 400 Anniversary will highlight the cultural contributions and American traditions that began with the interaction of the Wampanoag and English peoples, a story that significantly shaped the building of America.