Port of San Diego tenant Sun Harbor Marina is doing its part for military personnel.
The marina, located in the Port of San Diego’s America’s Cup Harbor in the Point Loma area (map), is participating in a program that provides calling cards to military personnel who can then phone —for free —their friends and family.
Through a program known as “Cell Phones for Soliders,” Sun Harbor is accepting donated cell phones that are either recycled or sold in the secondary market. With the proceeds from the sales, income from recycling or through donations, calling cards are purchased for military personnel.
Cell Phones for Soldiers was started in April 2004 by 13-year-old Brittany Bergquist and her 12-year-old brother Robbie of Norwell, Massachusetts. Their goal is to allow soldiers serving overseas to call home.
Kathy O’Brien, Sun Harbor’s general manager, learned of the program through a similar program at the San Diego Yacht Club.
“I figured if the yacht club can do it, I can do it,” said O’Brien, who said her husband was in the Army. “I have a heart for the military and I’d be thrilled if the public brought their phones here.”
Anyone wanting to donate may take their cell phone to Sun Harbor Marina’s office, 500 North Harbor Drive, in San Diego. There are several other drop off locations in the county, including a number of Liberty Tax Service offices.
The phones are sent to ReCellular, Inc, a Dexter, Michigan, company that refurbishes phones. Phones that cannot be resold are recycled.
Pre-paid calling cards bought by Cell Phones for Soliders are given to military personnel.
Sun Harbor Marina is one of the 54 businesses participating in the Port of San Diego’s Green Business Challenge. The primary reason the marina is participating in the cell phone program is to help the military. At the same time, it is helping the environment, which is a priority at Sun Harbor.
In 2006, Sun Harbor became the first LEED-certified marina in the world. Its features include light shelves that extend the natural daylight into the building, while reducing glare and saving energy.
“Out of a year, my lights have probably been on 50 days,” O’Brien said.
Special glass is installed to reduce heat gain in the summer and reduce heat loss in the winter. The buildings were constructed with renewable material, including bamboo flooring, compressed sorghum cabinets, entry gates are made from recycled airplane tires and bathroom partitions are made from recycled plastic bottles.
LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. It is a certification issued by the U.S. Green Building Council, which recognizes sustainability features in new construction.
The Green Business Challenge is a joint project of the Port of San Diego and San Diego Gas & Electric. The program is designed to encourage port tenant businesses to increase energy efficiency while reducing their environmental impact.