I was 5 years old when Star Wars: Episode IV (A New Hope) was released in theatres. My parents took me to see it, and all I can remember is how awesome the opening scene was. It was the image of the stormtroopers busting down the door to the rebel ship. They swarmed in as an unstoppable force taking over the ship. At that age, it was the images that grabbed my attention. My parents bought me the Star Wars action figures, which allowed me to relive the movie everyday without going to the theatre. I worshipped my action figures.
Empire Strikes Back was released a few years later. Now I’m a little older, and I’m able to really grasp what is actually going on in the movie. I realized that not only are these the coolest images I’ve ever seen, but the story consisted of characters that seemingly didn’t act like they lived in a galaxy “far far away”. The movie appeared somewhat realistic to me. The emotions and real life like personalities of the characters were beyond attractive to me. I can go on and on, but from the special editions to the prequels, I love everything Star Wars. Star Wars is and always will be a part of me.
I’ve always had a desire to be part of a team, and a unit with one clear positive goal. This applies to anything I do. It applies in my day job with my co-workers, or with my band members, when we come together as one to make some noise that people would enjoy or be moved by. Basically, I always wanted to be a part of a coalition of sorts to do good things in one way shape or form. These are the reasons that inspired me to become a member of the 501st.
I learned of the 501st legion back in 2005 at Celebration 3 in Indianapolis, Indiana. As I walked through the hallways of the convention center, I was amazed at all of the very accurate looking Star Wars costumes. I had a blast watching the “evil” stormtroopers interact with the convention goers. They were making people laugh, interacting with the kids, and letting everyone get photographed with them. I insisted on getting my photo taken with as many of them as I could. I even got arrested by the Imperial police at some point. I had a blast. I attended Celebration IV and V as well. I swiped up as much 501st swag as I could. One of my favorite moments of the Celebrations was being able to witness the scheduled 501st legion group photo get taken.
It was Celebration V that I learned that the 501st was a volunteer organization, and they do charity work. I found out then that there was a whole lot more to this than running around a convention showing off a fantastic costume. It is really about making people smile. It is about helping those who are less fortunate. So, my mind was made up. I wanted to become stormtrooper in the 501st legion.
My mission began as soon as I got back from CV. I got my hands on an already built set of stormtrooper armor. I reassembled it to fit me. I became a member of the First Imperial Stormtrooper Detachment (FISD) forum in early September of 2012. I learned how to make my armor as close to being screen accurate as I could through the FISD. In December of 2012 I applied for the 501st. On December 28th I was accepted as TK-10666 of the Empire City Garrison.
I completed my first troop on February 18, 2013, which was during “kid’s week” at the Intrepid museum in NY. I finally got to strut my stuff in my armor. I got to meet some of my fellow garrison members. And most importantly, I got to make a lot of kids and families smile. I am very proud to be a member of the legion. I look forward to do my part and contribute in any way I can to the positive movement of it.
I am TK-10666 of the Empire City Garrison, 501st legion and I love what I do.