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Some good news...

 
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Obey Wann (William Blackburn)
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 03, 2012 11:33 pm    Post subject: Some good news... Reply with quote

Sometimes it is hard to get good news out. Even about what we do. But sometimes we do....


Recently, the public affairs officer at my agency approached me about the charity work I do, and that evolved into an article posted on our internal Intranet page. It didn't go out to all 40,000 Department of Interior workers, but to at least 1200 or so in the Office Of Natural Resources. Here is the text from the article:

Quote:

ONRR’s Bill Blackburn Combines Passion for Hobby With Charity Work for Less Fortunate

DENVER — It’s not often that a person can turn a passionate hobby into charity aimed at helping sick children and the less fortunate in society.

Yet Bill Blackburn, a minerals revenue specialist with the Department of the Interior’s Office of Natural Resources Revenue in Denver, does just that.

Blackburn combines his hobby of making Star Wars costumes with charity work he performs as a member of the 501st & Rebel Legions, all-volunteer organizations originally formed to bring together costume enthusiasts and use those costumes for charity and volunteer work in local communities. The 501st currently has 5,500 members throughout the world.

“It’s a two-part hobby,” Blackburn said. “I get the fun of building a kit or costume, and I get to participate in the charity work we do.” In December, Blackburn was one of several Star Wars characters who visited Denver’s Children’s Hospital for the holidays. “We go to different floors, room-to-room, visiting the children ... to let them know that somebody cares.”

Our goal, Blackburn added, “is to bring smiles to hurting kids.”

Blackburn says combining costuming and charity is “just plain fun.” “Everybody is passionate about something,” he said. “I choose to do something that harkens to my days as a kid, and my kids love it.” They have their own costumes.

In addition to visiting the cancer ward at Children’s Hospital, Blackburn helps raise money annually for the Junior Diabetes Research Foundation and for the “Make a Wish” program. He participates in various charity walks, and even partnered with a local hair-cutting salon to provide back-to-school haircuts for needy and disadvantaged children.

“We don’t get paid to show up,” Blackburn said, “we take money as donations for charity.” They will also auction off birthday parties for charity – where several fully costumed Star Wars favorites show up – to attending black-tie events at the Denver Broncos Mile High Stadium.

Blackburn, who spent six years in the Navy serving on fast-attack submarines, currently works in ONRR’s Data Mining group to track reporting errors and ensure that the government and taxpayers get the proper royalty payments from energy companies.

Of his charity work, Blackburn said, “it gives you a really good feeling to give something back.” He added, “There aren’t enough smiles in the world today, so we do our best to add to them.”




Photo:




Quote:
Bill Blackburn, a Minerals Revenue Specialist with the Department of the Interior's Office of Natural Resources Revenue, combines his hobby of making Star Wars costumes with charity work he performs as a member of the 501st & Rebel Legion, an all-volunteer organization originally formed to bring together costume enthusiasts and use those costumes for charity and volunteer work in local communities. Above, Blackburn wears his "Clone Trooper" costume while visiting Denver's Children's Hospital in December. Photo by Melissa Blackburn.


I sincerely believe in what we accomplish as members of the 501st and the Rebel Legion. Let's go out in 2012 and make some smiles and raise some money for charity and other good causes.
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Banzai (Hugh Coffman)
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 05, 2012 3:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Excellent Article.
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ScubaJedi (Regina Tironi)
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 06, 2012 2:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That is just great Bill. Congrats on the recognition of doing good works
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Brack Daddy (Brack Lee)
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 06, 2012 7:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well done Bill!
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Jello (Tony)
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 06, 2012 7:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Shiny!!
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Obey Wann (William Blackburn)
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 12, 2012 4:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here is the YourHub article from today's Denver Post.

Quote:

“Star Wars” geeks unite! And dress for the occasion.

At least that’s the message and the movement that governs members of the 501st Legion, also known as the world’s “definitive imperial costuming organization.”

Golden resident Bill Blackburn said he’s been a “Star Wars” fan since he starting watching the movies as a kid. In his spare time, he participates in charity events with other members of the 501st as a life-size Clone Trooper.

He said the nonprofit 501st Legion exists for like-minded folks who combine the hobby of making and wearing “Star Wars” costumes with volunteer work for various charities. The 501st currently has 5,500 members worldwide and roughly 90 in the Colorado mountain region.

Highlands Ranch resident Vinissa Olp, a squad leader for the international group, said people do this for the love of “Star Wars.”

“It just started as a group of geeky guys who wanted to dress up as action figures and go out into the community and do some good,” she said.

Olp by day is a studio photographer and mother of eight. Blackburn is a minerals revenue specialist with the Department of Interior’s Office of Natural Resources Revenue in Lakewood.

He said combining the costuming with charity work is “just plain fun.”

His children often accompany him, in costume, to places like The Children’s Hospital or the Junior Diabetes Research Foundation to help raise money for the organizations.

His daughters dress up as Princess Leia or as a Jedi and his son dresses as a Jedi or Clone Trooper.
“I have built 10 costumes over the last 10 years,” said Blackburn.

On Jan. 3, he and several other 501st Legion members showed up at a Highlands Ranch Barnes & Noble store to help promote local author Kevin J. Anderson and his new book, “Sisterhood of Dune.”

Blackburn said the 501st helped raise more than the equivalent of $5.8 million in 2011 by assisting local and international charities.

Like Blackburn, Olp includes her family on visits to charities or special events, saying both she and her husband dress as Stormtroopers and her son is working on a Boba Fett (a bounty hunter from the films) costume.

“We love the original trilogy. We loved it growing up as kids, seeing for the first time. To be able to be a life-size action figure and see the looks on kids faces at Children’s Hospital — I don’t know if I am doing more good for the community or just making myself smile, but it’s an amazing feeling,” Olp said.

Blackburn said the standards for costuming are strict and hobbyists might spend considerable sums. He likened it to any hobby, which consumes not only time but cash, too. The payoff in this case is participating in events that help people.

All the funds raised go to nonprofit groups. Part of the group’s agreement with Lucasfilm Ltd. is that members do not sell their costumes openly on the Internet and that funds go to good causes.

Blackburn recalled a year when “Star Wars” creator George Lucas was the grand marshal for the 2007 Rose Bowl parade and invited members of the 501st Legion and the Rebel Legion — another international “Star Wars” costuming organization — to appear.

Blackburn said, “It’s a garage industry of fans who have sculpted costumes and may sell these to other fans at cost. We come together to show our love for the ‘Star Wars’ lore.”

Blackburn said the group will march in the Denver St. Patrick’s Day parade March 17.


I did try to keep this balanced with the Rebel Legion side when working with the reporter. But you never know how it will turn out in editing... or if they had space constraints, etc. But it's still a good article and more good press about what we do.

Hopefully this will help us do more good --maybe more charities or new recruits.
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ScubaJedi (Regina Tironi)
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 12, 2012 4:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Disappointed that there was absolutely no mention about the Rebel Legion.
Confused

Sigh, at least you tried.
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The Rebel Legion is a worldwide Star Wars costuming organization comprised of and operated by Star Wars fans. While not sponsored by Lucasfilm Ltd., it is Lucasfilm's preferred volunteer Rebel costuming group. Star Wars, its characters, costumes, and all associated items are the intellectual property of Lucasfilm. © 2014 Lucasfilm Ltd. & ™ All rights reserved. Used under authorization.


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