The 501st was founded on the premise of its members having screen accurate Costumes and to share the passion and legacy of Star Wars. Since that founding, costumes have been allowed to continue to represent that love of Star Wars and also to help in local community. With the growth and recognition of the 501st and her sister organizations, community and charity has become a huge part of what the Legion does. In 2016 the 501st Legion has grown to over 12,000 members worldwide and raised more than $889,000 in charitable donations. This is still only a part of the responsibility costumers in the Legion have. For most, the biggest reason to put on the armor is for the smiles on people’s faces.
Costuming has a certain allure to it. The costume itself grants one anonymity, and the confidence to become something other than the “every day”. Honestly, it’s incredibly fun to put on a new countenance and be the center of attention for awhile, whether it’s at Dragon Con or as a child on Halloween. However, as members of the 501st Legion and Georgia Garrison, costumers get a little something extra to go with the excitement of duplicity.
There is something so intimate about volunteering with a Garrison. Yes, grand debuts in brand-spanking-new, million dollar stadiums are thrilling, but the big picture hides in the giddy smiles of the fans reached on any given weekend. Garrison members have an opportunity to step up, and make an appearance at little events put on by the surrounding community that will never be forgotten by the children and adults in attendance. A real-life stormtrooper, that looks just like the movie, is incredibly-awe inspiring in some of the smaller venues that have requested Garrison volunteers. The requests that get posted on the forums are very much in a hopeful tone for participation. The people behind those requests are not disillusioned; they know that time is money and their small event may not get all the characters they requested. This is what makes the 501st really stand out from other costuming opportunities. When the Garrison steps up to the plate and serves the requests put in, big or small and free of charge, it shows the folks behind the planning of whatever event that the Garrison cares about everyone. Small troops provide costumers with the chance to do some good in the local community, no matter the amount of fame or glory. That’s why the 501st Legion is such a great charity.
Last week the Garrison was invited, along with our sister organizations, to visit the Bridge of Georgia School in Monroe, GA, a Special Needs private school. A small contingent from the Georgia Garrison and the Rebel Legion’s Bespin Base went out and spent a few hours with the Faculty, Students and their families for there “Family Fun Day. There were photo opportunities, kiddos hanging out with their favorite characters and a Jedi training academy session with lightsaber drills! Below is a message the Garrison received from Tami, the key contact at the school the morning following the event.
“I can’t say enough! The parents and students continue to Facebook, email, message and text. They are all so appreciative! Thank you for being a part of a truly memorable day for our students and teacher alike! So many of our students have such anxiety and fear we didn’t know how they would respond. When the last precious girl in the last moment said she wanted to meet them and we rushed down to stop them from changing we knew the day had been a complete success! Her Mom left in tears because her little girl got close to them and smiled. Thank you so very much!!”
This is the amazing work that goes down at the troops attended by the volunteers in this community. Thank you for all you do, and keep getting out there and representing!