The Empire – From the Front lines

 

501st Alias/Callsign – BethD & TKID: 8693  

 What is your name and why did you pick your 501st Alias?  

My name is Beth Dolgner, and I picked the most boring alias imaginable. Since my first Legion-approved costume was Admiral Daala, I usually just tell people, “You can call me ‘Admiral.’”

 

When did you join the Legion and why?  

I joined the 501st in July of 2012. I have always enjoyed volunteering and being involved in the community, and the 501st Legion was a way for me to combine my passion for Star Wars with those things. I joined the Republic Service Organization first, with the intention of simply being a handler at Georgia Garrison troops, but everyone was so friendly and welcoming at my first event that I knew I had to join the 501st, too!

 

 Of all of the troops you have been a part of, which one has stood out the most & why?

The Georgia Garrison works with Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta quite a bit. Last year we were visiting kids at their hospital in Decatur, Georgia, and one boy was a really big Star Wars fan. I was dressed as Kylo Ren, and Darth Vader was with me in the boy’s room. While we were talking to him, I overheard his mom say, “This is the first time he’s smiled all day.” The experience was exactly why I joined the 501st Legion, and it meant so much to me that our visit could make a sick child forget his cares for a while.

 

 How has being a part of the 501st impacted your life?

Being part of the 501st Legion has truly changed my life. I have made friends all over the world, and of course plenty of friends here in Georgia. I am always amazed at the kindness and generosity I see among our members for each other and for those we troop for, and it inspires me to be a better person. The absolute best part of trooping is giving kids who are sick or dealing with other challenges something to smile about, and I am so grateful for each of those opportunities. And, on the fun side of things, I’ve been in the Star Wars Weekends parades at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, which was a dream come true for me!

 

 Outside of trooping and 501st related stuff, what do you do for a living, and what are some other interests or hobbies that you have? 

My career is a little eclectic! I’m a freelance writer, and most of my clients are in the motorcycle industry or sports car racing. I’m also an author, and I have written two non-fiction books (“Georgia Spirits and Specters” and “Everyday Voodoo”) and six novels, all with paranormal themes. That work led to me becoming a tour guide with the Roswell Ghost Tour, just north of my home in Atlanta.

Outside of work, I love to sew and travel. Here in Atlanta, I volunteer at Historic Oakland Cemetery and will lecture about Victorian death and mourning practices whenever I get the chance.  

 

Can you give us an idea as to the kind of support you get from friends and family regarding the 501st and all the great things that you have done with the GA Garrison? 

My husband is the best—he fully supports my adventures with the 501st and always manages to find a Boba Fett collectible I don’t have yet. My friends and family all understand how much it means to me to be able to make kids smile and help raise money for great causes through my love of Star Wars. 

 

And lastly, is there anything, Star Wars related or not, that people might not know about you that they might be surprised to find out?

I am currently learning German, and my husband and I hope to move to Berlin someday. I’ve already met some of the members of Echo Nova Squad in the German Garrison, so I’ll feel right at home when I start trooping with them!

The Empire – From the Front lines

 

501st Alias/Callsign – & TKID:

Matty8393 on the GG forums and Matty61700 on the 501st forum. TK-61700 is my TKID.

What is your name and why did you pick your 501st Alias?

My name is Matt Melton. My alias is based on a nickname friends call me and the numbers are from the times when beepers were popular. 83 and 93 were the codes I used to identify myself when beeping someone. 83 for the year of my first car and 93 for the year I finally bought a new car. The 61700 is the Birthday of my son who passed away from cancer in 2011. I picked his birthday for my TKID so I could carry him with me when trooping.

When did you join the Legion and why?

Well it all started out with me wanting to have a group of stormtroopers march around the Dahlonega town square during the annual Halloween party. Searching for costumes I stumbled upon the 501st and the FISD and after reading into it and finding out what the 501st did and I was sold. After that I connected with Georgia Garrison members and started handling for troops. Officially I have been a member since May of 2015 but had been handling since 2014.

Of all of the troops you have been a part of, which one has stood out the most & why?

I think the Connectability Side Kicks Star Wars Proms have been some of the funnest to attend. Connectability help Kids and adults with special needs. My son was special needs after his tumor removal and cancer treatments so these kids and adults hold a special place in my heart. They really appreciate us appearing and treat us great.

How has being a part of the 501st impacted your life?  

I have gained so many new friends but I really love all the charity events we participate in. It is a way of me giving back for all the help and assistance my son and family got while my son was going through his cancer treatments

Outside of trooping and 501st related stuff, what do you do for a living, and what are some other interests or hobbies that you have?

I am a glorified pool man. My official title is Pool Operator. Basically I keep the pools and equipment running at the Cumming Aquatic Center. I am a CPO (Certified Pool Operator) as well as a CPO Instructor. After high school I got into the pool industry and never left. Outside of work and the 501st I love being out in nature. I have been doing a lot of hiking on the Appalachian Trail lately but enjoy spending time outside doing most anything. I also enjoy working on cars. I recently bought a truck that is the same model and color as one I bought new in 1993 except it has most of the stuff I wanted back then but couldn’t afford. It needs some work so I spend time working on it so I can use it to run up the mountains when I go hiking.

Can you give us an idea as to the kind of support you get from friends and family regarding the 501st and all the great things that you have done with the GA Garrison?

Once they get past the costume club aspect and see all the charity stuff we do they are super supportive. Perfect example is my wife. She hates Star Wars but loves what we do as the 501st. She comes to events and helps out but still doesn’t like Star Wars.

And lastly, is there anything, Star Wars related or not, that people might not know about you that they might be surprised to find out?

This is a tough one. When growing up my dad listened to country music so I do like some of the older stuff. As with most music now the newer stuff is not worth a listen but my main love is metal. I like long walks on the beach…

The Empire – From the Front Lines

Welcome to a new feature we are adding to the Georgia Garrison of the 501st website.  We will be taking a moment each month to learn more about our members and what has motivated them to join the Empire!

501st Alias/Callsign – ObiWanBilbo  & TKID: TK 22431

What is your name and why did you pick your 501st Alias?  

Scott Britt…My TK # was my father’s birthday…The alias just a Xbox Live gamer tag that has been used for years…

When did you join the Legion and why?  

I joined about a year ago after talking and reconnecting with my old friend and former co-worker Steve Vitale.  We reconnected after many years…He and several folks came and did a troop at my wife’s school. I have always been drawn to sci-fi and Star Wars and seeing the good and joy the group brought through the costumes and props was inspiring.  

Of all of the troops you have been a part of, which one has stood out the most & why?

So far they have all had a special moment that made them stand out in their own special way.  But the Bert’s Big Adventure organization has a special place as I have done work through my affiliation at Santa at Phipps with them for many years.  It was special this year to do the homecoming at Phipps and be a part of the 501st there with Santa.   

How has being a part of the 501st impacted your life?

We elected to do this adventure as a family, with my wife Leigh and son Matt, both having a costume shortly after I did.  My oldest son David has handled on troops, but heads off to college next year.  We have made many new friends and met people to share time with and adventures while also doing something good.  However, to be honest if the charity and kids element wasn’t a part of this I am not sure how long I could see this keeping my interest.  

Outside of trooping and 501st related stuff, what do you do for a living, and what are some other interests or hobbies that you have?  

I am a Creative Producer/Director of entertainment productions primarily in theme parks/events…Pretty much anything IT or computer related is either a hobby or a interest…The merging of hobby, work interest happens way too frequently.

Can you give us an idea as to the kind of support you get from friends and family regarding the 501st and all the great things that you have done with the GA Garrison?

In general it has been very positive…I suppose with a few folks who have little to no knowledge of the films and/or the mission of the 501st, a little back history of the charity that is being done helps give it a little more credibility.  But I am past really worrying about what anyone thinks about it except maybe the kids in the hospital we visit.

And lastly, is there anything, Star Wars related or not, that people might not know about you that they might be surprised to find out?

I’m also a Star Trek fan… 🙂

 

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