Silly String to the Rescue

Silly String to the Rescue
By: Arnold Wyrick
HARRISBURG, Il. --Of all the things you might be thinking to send our troops overseas this holiday, silly string probably wasn't at the top of the list.  But you may want to pack another package with a few cans of the gooey stuff in it.
That's because a story from a Marine in Iraq about using the stringy stuff to detect trip wires on explosive devices is getting a lot of national attention.
Now efforts to collect up as many cans as possible of silly string, and ship it to our troops on the battlefield is reaching folks here in the heartland.
Mrs. Rita Gaskins a Resource Teacher at East Side School in Harrisburg is spearheading the collection efforts in Southern Illinois.
"I saw on national TV where a New Jersey mother's Marine son had used a can of it as a joke out on patrol.  And they found some trip wires that they hadn't been able to see before.  So I decided it would be a wonderful community service for our students.  And a civic's lesson," says Rita Gaskins.
So she started a collection of silly string among her students, and fellow teachers in the Harrisburg School District.
Some of her students already knew stringy stuff in the can.
"You can cover people in it, and it's really fun too," says 4th Grader Sarah Dunn.
"I've silly stringed peoples bikes, and peoples homes," says 4th Grader Jimmy Roller.
But now these young students have learned a whole new use for something they just thought was a toy.
"It'll help them a lot from people not being killed so much," Dunn said.
The Marine's found that by spraying the silly string out in front of them, that it was light enough to not trip the explosive devices, but yet strong enough to reach fifteen feet ahead of them.  And as the gooey color strand drifted towards the ground it would lay across the trip wires in their path.
"So it really it close to home for me.  My oldest son is a Marine, he's no longer on active duty.  But I would hope if he were that someone could do something as simple as a .99 cent can of silly string to help him, or keep him safe," Gaskins said.
She will be collecting cans of silly string through December 22nd.  If you want to contribute to their cause you can drop off a can at any Harrisburg School, or the Harrisburg Fire Department.
All of the cans will then be sent to Marcelle Shriver in New Jersey who will then forward them to our troops in Iraq.