If you see Stormtroopers at an event, they more than likely belong to the 501st Legion. In Kentucky and Tennessee, they would be members of the MidSouth Garrison. They appear at libraries, at charity events, and no matter where they are, they appearing there for free, just to bring joy to fans. From the mission statement of the Legion charter, "The Legion’s aims are to celebrate the Star Wars movies through the wearing of costumes, to promote the quality and improvement of costumes and props, and most importantly to contribute to the local community through charity and volunteer work." Garrison member Tyler Phillips filled me in their plans for The Shoe Project.
|Falcon Crew by Lin Zy|
The Shoe Project's purpose is to raise money for UK Children's Hospital. The whole reason we started The Shoe Project was to raise awareness and bring attention to the families who have children receiving treatment at the hospital and the financial hardship it probably places on their daily lives. Insurance doesn't always cover things like gas and food for families who have to travel long distances to receive much needed treatment. The 501st Legion has had a lot of success at major convention like Star Wars Celebration with similar projects that have benefited national charities like Make A Wish.
Tyler said that they partnered with Vans because they are very popular among the custom shoe crowd and the shoes themselves were easy to work with. The company, based in California, was also very eager to help in the mission of the project. The artists must feel the same way, because they were able to achieve some stunning designs. Artists involved in the project include Rob De Nicola, Jon Wollack, Jason Eaton, and Jamie Snell. You can view all photographs of the shoes on The Shoe Project's Facebook page.
Though there were a few hurdles to overcome in order to get the money to the hospital, the shoes are now listed on Ebay and will be on auction for one week.
|Myself with members of the|
MidSouth Garrison at Tate's Creek Library