May 1, 2012

Happy 501st Day everyone!

Well folks, it is May 1st, better known to costumers as 501st Day. Deciding to join the 501st was one of the greatest decisions I have made and would recommend it to anyone. We are often mistaken as a bunch of nerds and geeks that can't get women and like to prance around in costumes and play with our pew pew plastic guns, I have seen the news stories. But that would be the furthest from the truth. I have found a new family within the Legion, a group of super creative craftsmen and women who share the love of a movie franchise, but also have huge hearts that take the time to volunteer their time and resources to bring smiles to children's faces.

While in the 501st I have participated in many events that involved sick children including Autism, Cystic Fibrosis, Hydrocephalus and even met some Make-A-Wish kids at Star Wars Weekends. These troops can be very difficult because can be hard to stay in character when meeting these kids. It is always humbling knowing that your day to day issues are nothing in comparison to their struggles.

Like I mentioned before we are one big family thousands strong around the world. When we hear of a fallen trooper that has succumb to an illness or was in an accident, you feel it as if you have lost a close friend. The same when you hear of one of the kids you met have passed. It can really get to you, but it just drives you more to want to participate and get more creative and move on to the next best costume.

I have been part of the Legion since 2010, right before Star Wars Celebration V and now we are on the eve of Celebration VI. When I started I only had the wampa, attending a convention knowing very little people in a big costume I felt like I was on my own in a way in a organization filled with people in armor. Now going into CVI, I have 5 costumes planned. Plus I will get to meet up with all the new friends I have made in the past years. It will truly be a family reunion of sorts. I really look forward to seeing my Stormtrooper mentor Hyper, and the rest of the Great Lakes Garrison who brought me up to Michigan last year for a troop. They were the ones that really opened up my eyes with the legion beyond Florida.

Plus there is no better place to see creativity on display then Celebration. 501st members from all over the world will be meeting in Orlando this summer, and expect BIG surprises from some garrisions. Trust me, I have seen what the Belgian's have been up to!

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