Image: Marcelle Shriver
Mel Evans  /  AP file
Marcelle Shriver, shown in front of 80,000 Silly String cans in August, began her campaign last year when her son was stationed in Ramadi, Iraq.
updated 10/15/2007 7:58:02 PM ET 2007-10-15T23:58:02

After months of frustration, a mother of a soldier in Iraq has found someone to ship about 80,000 cans of Silly String to the troops, who use the foamy substance to detect trip wires on bombs.

“I am so happy right now, I am shaking. I just think it’s awesome that it’s finally going,” said the woman, Marcelle Shriver, as boxes were loaded into a truck Monday afternoon.

Soldiers can shoot the substance, which travels about 10 feet, across a room before entering. If it hangs in the air, that indicates a possible trip wire.

The thousands of cans of Silly String are boxed and addressed to individual servicemen and servicewomen in Iraq. But since the string comes in an aerosol can, it is considered a hazardous material, and only certain companies can ship it.

Thom Campbell, one of the founders of Capacity LLC, a New Jersey-based shipping company experienced in hazardous materials, heard about Shriver’s problem and decided to help out.

Shriver and Campbell communicated for weeks over the telephone and e-mail. They met for the first time Monday when the boxes were picked up. Each praised the other for making the shipment a reality.

“The determination that she’s shown over a year ... deserves to be honored,” Campbell said. “Mine is not a glamorous industry nor is it the kind of industry you get a lot of opportunities to do something like this.”

Soldier asked parents to send cans
Shriver had been storing the boxes in this community across the Delaware River from Philadelphia. They will be inspected by the company and then delivered to the United States Postal Service for transport with other letters and packages bound for Iraq.

Shriver’s Silly String campaign began late last year after her son, Todd, a soldier in Ramadi slated to leave Iraq in November, asked his parents to send cans of the product.

Shriver, 58, got one shipment of 40,000 cans out in January through the Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base Willow Grove in Pennsylvania but officials told Shriver they didn’t know when they’d have more flights headed to Iraq and didn’t have space to store the boxes. McGuire Air Force Base declined to take the shipment.

Despite her frustrations, Shriver said the Silly String campaign was worth it.

“If this saves one life, I’m happy,” Shriver said.

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