The Empire – From the Front Lines (Valentines Edition)

Every month we highlight one of our troopers to share a bit about the how and why we all participate in one of the greatest hobbies in the galaxy.  This month, for Valentines day, we want to spotlight a special couple.  The Grays both joined the Legion as single individuals, met, dated and got married through their work as “Plastic Spacepeople”!

501st Alias/Callsign – TKID

Disnerd – TK-22135

Acathla – TK/TD/CC/DZ 12358

What is your name and why did you pick your 501st Alias?
Kristin – I picked my Alias because I love all things Disney, you could say I’m a bit of a nerd for it!

Patrick Gray, originally i planned to use my gamer tag which is Slusho, but i thought i should change it up and decided to choose a name from another fandom. Acathla is a Demon in the Buffyverse which i thought would be fun. I have contemplated changing all my Alias’ back to Slusho though.

My TK ID was a hard one to come up with… I eventually settled on the Fibonacci numbers starting after the first 1 as that number was taken.

When did you join the Legion and why?
I officially joined in July of 2015. I had been to conventions before and seen the Legion and it just looked like such a blast. After handling for the St. Patrick’s parade, that was it, I was hooked, I knew I needed a costume of my own.

August of 2013, originally i joined because i was looking for friendship in my love of Star Wars.

Of all of the troops you have been a part of, which one has stood out the most & why? 
Even though I didn’t get to troop it, Star Wars Weekends in 2015 was the coolest troop I’ve ever been able to participate in. Being able to see so many troopers from different Garrison’s all coming together and interacting, trading merch, and then coming down Disney’s Hollywood Studio’s like celebrities was beyond rad. I love parades, but the Disney events are something special. I hope they come back.

While all troops are meaningful, to me the ones that stand out the most are the parades and mostly the Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Christmas parade. I feel that while the interactions are short along the parade routes that we impact many more people.

How has being a part of the 501st impacted your life? 
The 501st has changed my life forever. When I joined I was looking for something fun to do and a good way to make friends. Along the way I ended up meeting my perfect match in this world who never says no to a new adventure.

The 501st has opened up so much for me. I originally joined for friendship and i already was loving cosplaying. The ultimate life changer was when i met the woman of my dreams. We ended up getting married on May the 4th at Walt Disney World.

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 work 3 jobs total, one full time, and two for fun. I work for a company that sells industrial pressure gauges during the week. I’m also an independent travel agent selling mostly Disney travel. Oh, and I teach kids to ride dirt bikes! I race motocross competitively for about 7 years. I love trying new stuff and and going on new adventures.

I am a Production Technician at The Weather Channel. Mostly I like to make things so I’m always working on the next costume. But when I am not working on a costume I’m either playing computer games or planning my next vacation.

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 family has always supported me in everything. It didn’t matter if we were traveling across the country to race dirt bikes, or if I’m building plastic space man costumes. At times they probably think I’m a little crazy, but hey, whatever makes me happy. Also, if your friends can’t support you in something like this, you don’t need ’em anyway.

At first my family was cautious and didn’t think it was worth while because of what you can spend on these costumes. But after they saw how happy i was they have come to support it fully. My dad has handled a few times and the family often comes to see us at troops all over Atlanta.

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 take dance classes two days a week. I’ve been wanting to get back into theater sometime soon and I thought this would help make me a little more well rounded. In high school I was in lots of shows and even a few movies/tv shows.

I would bet that a lot of people don’t know that I’m a Black and Double Black Diamond snowboarder, and an Advanced Open Water and Nitrox certified Scuba Diver.