From July 8, 2004: http://www.webpronews.com/gmailtroops-donation-site-launches-2004-07
“A website called Gmail4Troops.com has launched with the intention of collecting Gmail invites by means of donation and rewarding them to military members who sign up. The accounts, while available to all service members, will be prioritized for those serving in combat zones.
The reason behind Gmail4Troops is the inefficiency of the current military accounts available to the troops now. A quote from Ann Mitchell, president and CEO of the California-based consulting firm Institute for Spam and Internet Public Policy, appeared in the Stars and Stripes explaining the current email situation and the motivations behind the service:
“We’ve heard from some of the troops who said one picture from their wife, and it wiped out their entire storage space, or a new photo would delete an older one. [Gmail] has a gig of storage, and troops can see clips of home movies, clips of their babies taking their first steps, of their children’s graduations.”
The service was started when Drew Olanoff contacted Wil Wheaton of Star Trek fame with his idea of donating Gmail invites. Shortly there after, Wil and Drew created Gmail4Troops in order to give troops access to invitations. Unfortunately, they have had a hard time getting word out about their donation website.”
it all started here: http://www.wilwheaton.net/mt/archives/001639.php
damn, i’m old.
this email was when i knew how powerful the internet was:
Drew: Words can’t express my thanks to you and anyone that has helped you in this endeavor…..I was wounded in Aug of 2004 and I’m still an outpatient at the Army Hosp in San Antonio, TX Brooke Army Medical Center (BAMC) The Gmail account is great, it has allowed me to stay in touch with people when I would not have been able to get onto the Military Network. I use to spend more “geek” time on the computer, but after my injuries it’s hard just to type….. Thanks again and God Bless to all involved. Highest Regards, Andy