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FINAL SCORE: AMERICA 1, UNNAMED POST OFFICE BUREAUCRAT 0
Some GI's in Iraq will get to cool off a bit in spite of US Postal Service attempts to deny them that simple pleasure as Operation Air Conditioner has been aided by an unlikely duo:
Limbaugh helps air conditioner operation
Operation Air Conditioner will resume sending more units to troops in Iraq this week after getting a boost Monday from a cargo firm and conservative talk-show host Rush Limbaugh.
Frankie Mayo of Bear, whose son is with the army in Iraq, had sent about 500 air conditioners for $38 apiece before U.S. Postal Service officials halted her shipments two weeks ago. They said the units could not be shipped by any mail carrier because international postal agreements ban their coolants as hazardous.
After a New Jersey-based company, DHL Danzas Air & Ocean, learned of Mayo's situation, the firm determined that, as a cargo carrier rather than a mail carrier, it was not subject to the same coolant ban and would be able to handle the additional 520 units. And, the officials said, as a military subcontractor, it could deliver the stockpiled units to Baghdad.
The downside was that it would cost more than $71,000.
Enter Limbaugh. His Monday show focused on the Bear homemaker's effort, which has drawn national attention since she sent the first unit to her son, Army Cpl. Christopher Tomlinson, in July.
Sen. Joe Biden, D-Del., has been working to get free military transport for the units, Limbaugh noted.
After the show, Mayo said, Limbaugh's wife, Marta, told her and DHL officials that she had made arrangements to cover half the cost. DHL officials said late Monday they received that payment and plan to transport the air conditioners this week.
Donations from across the country would cover the rest of the cost, Mayo said. She still hopes Biden will get planes to take more units, but said she could not wait while soldiers struggle in desert heat.
She also said she is not surprised that Operation Air Conditioner is gaining support from people with as varied political stances as Biden and Limbaugh.
"This isn't about politics at all," she said. "It's about our sons and daughters in Iraq."
Air conditioners to fly out of Dover
An agreement has been reached for planes from Dover Air Force Base to carry air conditioners collected by a Delaware woman to troops in Iraq, Sen. Joe Biden said Wednesday.
The first shipment will be sent Sept. 4.
Biden, D-Del., said the first shipment from Dover was finalized Wednesday after about a month of talks with Department of Defense officials, who could not be reached for comment.
The Air Force is the second alternative shipping option to come through this week.
Mayo's stockpile is set to start its trek to Iraq on Friday, courtesy of a cargo company and talk show host Rush Limbaugh, who broadcast a segment Monday about her project.
He arranged for payment of half the $71,000 cost for New Jersey-based DHL Danzas Air & Ocean, a cargo carrier and military subcontractor, to take the air conditioners to Iraq. Mayo paid the rest from nationwide donations to www.operationac.com.
Mayo said Limbaugh listeners have donated more than $36,000.
The unusual pairing of supporters for Operation Air Conditioner is noted.
Now, if you would like to help support this worthy cause, I encourage you to visit Operation Air Conditioner here. They have a Paypal donation button waiting for you (in case anyone has ever wondered where the Mudville Gazette Paypal link is, consider it there.) along with some great reading about the project, the hurdles they've faced, and the attitudes of the folks involved. Uplifting stuff, and absolutely worth a few minutes of your time.