California soldiers serving in Middle East hot spots are getting a special gift from Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (search) and his wife, Maria Shriver (search): prepaid phone service home.

California National Guard members stationed in Afghanistan, Kuwait and Iraq are getting up to 66 minutes of free phone time, paid for by contributions from private citizens and corporations and organized by the California State Alliance (search), the Office of the First Lady and the Army & Air Force Exchange Service (search).

"I am so pleased to send our support and gratitude to our service men and women," Shriver said in a statement. "I speak on behalf of all Californians when I say how honored we are by all your remarkable acts of courage and your bravery as you defend our nation."

The First Lady's office said that as many as 20,000 soldiers could take advantage of the calls, which cost about $15 each, making the overall expense of the program close to $300,000.

To receive the gift, qualified military personnel have been directed to send an e-mail to Calphonecards@aafes.com that includes his or her full name, assignment location, a return e-mail address and California home address or driver's license number.

The opportunity will be available until January 31, 2005.