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Operation Shaving Cream passes 850-case goal

Troops use shaving cream to mark roadside bombs

POSTED: August 17, 2011 11:33 p.m.
SARA GUEVARA/The Times

Kris Connolly, shipping and receiving supervisor at Kipper Tool in Gainesville, hauls cases of shaving cream Wednesday to be shipped to Afghanistan as part of Operation Shaving Cream. Marines overseas use the shaving cream to mark suspected sites of roadside bombs.

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A homefront campaign to supply U.S. Marines in Afghanistan with an everyday hygiene item that red-flags roadside bombs has more than met its goal.

Last week, just a few days after organizers launched Operation Shaving Cream, Gainesville-Hall County businesses and residents had reached the goal of 850 cases, or 10,200 cans.

But the effort has continued to snowball.

Tony Herdener, whose son, Lt. Paul Herdener, is serving in Afghanistan, said Wednesday he expects that, through donations of money and cans, the community could end up shipping some 1,600 cases.

"I am absolutely humbled by the response," he said.

Kipper Tool at 2375 Murphy Blvd. was working Wednesday on readying the cases for shipping.

Company vice president Darrin Lee said he expected the 850 cases at Kipper by Friday.

"We'll look at consolidating them as best we can and check with the airlines, as far as availability," Lee said. "Normally, the transit time is seven to 10 days."

Marines in the 1st Battalion, 5th Marines' Cherokee Company, are using the shaving cream to mark suspected sites of roadside bombs, which have killed or seriously injured many U.S.-led coalition troops in the war-torn country.

Herdener has said that he first learned about the need from his son, a 2004 North Hall High School graduate whose company is based at Camp Pendleton, Calif.

Marines had tried several things to mark possible bomb locations, but nothing seemed to work as well as shaving cream.

Spray paint, for example, left more of a permanent mark, which is "dangerous, because the Taliban can use it against you," Herdener said.

He said he talked to his son Tuesday about the campaign and Paul reiterated how useful the shaving cream is.

"They don't take a step in Afghanistan without (it)," Herdener said.

The idea is to ship enough shaving cream to take care of the Cherokee Company's needs and give a jump-start to troops that relieve the unit later in the year.

"We're ... trying to coordinate with the people on the ground in Afghanistan that the new battalion is going to come in and where we are go to store (the shaving cream)," Herdener said. "We've got a great challenge ahead of us."

The effort began as a project among Rotary Club of Gainesville members and then spread to other organizations in town on its way to becoming a full-blown community campaign.

J&J Foods has set up displays at its three stores — two in Gainesville and one in Dahlonega — explaining the campaign. Cases have sold for $12 each, with shipping covered by the campaign.

Darrell Wiley of J&J Foods said the effort will continue through Aug. 28.

"I've been very pleasantly surprised at the way our customers have responded, as well as all areas of our community. We always knew we had great customers, and this has proved it," Wiley said.

Butch Miller of Milton Martin Honda was an early supporter of the effort and the car dealership is a drop-off point for those wanting to leave cans of shaving cream to be shipped.

Residents also have been able to make donations through the North Georgia Community Foundation at 615-F Oak St., Gainesville.

Herdener noted that because of this fall's transition between military outfits, Aug. 31 is the cutoff for mail to get through to Cherokee Company.

"They're starting to get ready to come back to the states in September," he said.

His son's commanding officer has told Herdener that he would send him a contact for the new outfit to follow, once he learns it.

"That's another reason donating to the foundation works, because we might store some of the shaving cream at Kipper Tool or some place while we wait to find out logistically how we get it to the new battalion," he said.

 



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