Troops' favorite goo finally going to Iraq Volunteers cut through Silly String red tape Tuesday, October 16, 2007 The truck finally arrived yesterday, and the crew made short work of things. As Marcelle Shriver looked on, the 80,000 cans of Silly String she collected for soldiers in Iraq -- who use the brightly colored goo to detect tripwires -- was moved from under the blue tarp where it sat for months, loaded into a trailer and sent on its way. "It's just such a relief," Shriver said. "There were times when I thought it was never going to happen." That it finally happened is a small glimpse into the kindness of strangers, the generosity of the human spirit and the quiet desire felt by untold thousands to do something -- anything -- to keep U.S. servicemen and women just a little bit safer. But it's also a testament to a soldier's mother who refused to give up through the long months when it looked as if no one could help her with the huge logistical task of getting those aerosol cans from a storage yard in Camden County to a war-battered country half a world away. It all began about a year ago with a conversation between Shriver and her son, Todd, who is in the Army's 9th Engineering Battalion. Todd asked his mother to send him Silly String, explaining that soldiers spray it into doorways and rooms: The stuff gets hung up on the micro-thin tripwires connected to improvised explosive devices but is not heavy enough to trigger them. Marcelle Shriver slipped a few cans into her son's next care package and also put a small item in her church's bulletin. She asked her fellow parishioners at St. Luke's Catholic Church in the Camden County borough of Stratford to bring in a few cans. Shriver figured Todd could dole them out to the other soldiers in his company. Soon it became a one-thing-led-to-another kind of thing. KYW radio in Philadelphia heard about it and did a segment. Then the local ABC affiliate did one. Next it got picked up by The Star-Ledger, and the Associated Press grabbed it from there. Suddenly, it was national. Shriver, who works in a podiatrist office, found herself spending most of her free time dealing with issues more familiar to a quartermaster's unit. A few hundred cans in her garage multiplied into the thousands. "We got it from all over the country -- businesses, schools, churches, individuals," Shriver said. "Kids did it for their bar mitzvahs, their confirmation. Anything anyone could do for these soldiers, they did it." And every can had a story behind it. One hundred of them came from the Helping Hands Club at Antheil Elementary School in Ewing after two fifth-graders, Sarah Kokotajlo and Amanda Narducci, saw a story about Shriver on television last winter. Three other boxes came from Robert R. Lazar Middle School in Montville, where students organized a collection drive as part of their Character Education program. A couple of hundred cans came from the Morristown-Beard School, where Pierelle Eppie, Meghan Evans, Henry Kean and Murphy Kean organized a collection drive. Then there were the people who sent money, which Shriver was able to use to buy more cans for her pile. Can by can, check by check, the generosity kept pouring in until Shriver had 80,000 containers packed into boxes at Pin Point Container Corp. in Deptford, which donated storage space. Each box was individually addressed to a soldier in Iraq. Shriver just had no way of getting it to them. CERTIFIED HANDLER There is no ground shipping into the country, only air freight. But aerosol cans are considered hazardous materials, which makes air-mailing them a dicey proposal: If even one can gets punctured, it can turn into a missile that makes all the other cans explode. Months dragged by and Shriver's frustration grew. Finally, Shriver heard from Thom Campbell, who with fellow Princeton grad Jeff Kaiden founded a logistics company in North Brunswick called Capacity. It is one of a select few firms certified by the post office to ship aerosol cans. Campbell donated his company's expertise and, with the help of a transport company called Yellow Worldwide, got the necessary paperwork filled out to get the Silly String on its way. "There's not really a lot of glamour in the logistics industry," Campbell said. "You don't get to do pro bono work. So when this came along, we thought: Here's a chance to do some good. The cans will start arriving in a few weeks.