The Arizona chapter of the 501st Legion is going to have a very busy May 4th this year. Due to a rarely seen calendar alignment, this year’s Star Wars day is also Free Comic Book day. The Dune Sea Garrison will be sending out several troopers to provide cover at 4 separate Comic book and retail book stores all over the state; Phoenix, Glendale, Tuscon, and Flagstaff. (see calendar of events for locations and times) In addition to these events, members will also be volunteering to appear at the Apache Junction Library for their crafting and reading day. There are also two very special events planned . In Tuscon, at the Hotel Congress will be a huge Star Wars party. The other ‘not to be missed’ event is the visit from Tom Hodges, an amazing artist with a huge spot in his heart for Star Wars. He’ll be at the Dr. Fantasy’s Comic Books ‘N More in Glendale being heavily guarded by an Imperial Garrison, you can bet.
The morning of August 18, 2012 was cool and clear as 4,300 people began their trek to ‘Climb for the Cure’. The annual event in Flagstaff, Arizona is a fundraiser to help find a cure for cancer, and for the third time, members of the Dune Sea Garrison participated.
At 7:00AM, eight troopers and one wrangler took part in the days activities which included everything from encouraging walkers to keep going, to actually doing the 7 mile climb themselves. The walk begins at the base of the San Francisco Peaks on Snowbowl Road, which is at an altitude of 7000 feet and steadily climbs to the Heart Prairie Lodge at 10,500 feet. There is no doubt that the name of the event is an accurate description. It is truly a climb, and in just under 2 hours the final trooper crossed the finish line to cheering crowds.
Several people mentioned to the troopers that the ‘Star Wars Group’, as they have come to be known, are the “highlight of the climb” and something they now “look forward to every year”. It inspires people to keep going when they see someone dressed in plastic walking right along beside them. The event raised an impressive $291,000.00.
The participating members of the Dune Sea Garrison were: Chuck Lamphear, Jordan Lamphear, Will Rogers, Tristan & Michelle Moriuchi, and Neils & Jana Maclellan. They were joined by a future member of the DSG, Aaron Valencia for his first trooping event. Way to go Troopers!