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Garrison News
Holiday Special-Under The Spotlight
By Dirty Scout on Nov 27, 2019 at 7:50 AM.
Holiday Special-Under The Spotlight, Under The Armor. I AM MIDWEST GARRISON!

2019 is the 20th Anniversary of the founding of the Midwest Garrison. Our garrison started with four individuals with a love for Star Wars and a desire to build Stormtrooper armor. From humble beginnings, these four founders helped grow the Midwest Garrison to five states. Today there are 6 Garrisons that have grown and probably close to a thousand members that have joined over those 20 years.

We have had three Trooper Spotlights and in each spotlight our members talk about the connections that create a large circle of people that will help those in times of need, whether it's a ride, a phone call when you needed it more than someone could ever know, a person that will help you move, a person that will visit you in the hospital, and even say prayers for you when you need healing.

It's a love for Star Wars that brings people together in this group, yet it is the esprit de corps that bonds these people through the rough times. And for some, this garrison is more than just a group, it's an extended family.

So tomorrow, we celebrate Thanksgiving Day. As we give thanks, I can think of no higher privilege than to say "Thank You" to the Four Founders of the MWG- Javier Esqueda, Luis Boileve, Michael Washko, and Arturo Delgado. It's hard to believe the impact that this group has created but let us take a moment and reflect from the year of 2018.

Members of the Midwest Garrison:

Participated in 37 events linked with children's hospitals

Helped package 151,000 meals for the Eastern Illinois Foodbank

Helped collect over 3300 toys for Christmas

Helped raise direct funds of $18,455 dollars for various charities

Helped raise indirect funds of $3,771,103 for various charities including Ronald McDonald House, Lurie Children's Hospital, Children's Hospital of Illinois, Make A Wish, Autism Speaks, St. Baldrick's, Bugs Pals, Childhood Leukemia Warriors Foundation, Second City Canine Rescue, and so many more.


We have a special holiday edition of Under the Armor, Under the Spotlight. This time we turn the Imperial Spotlight on a loving husband, a loyal friend, a trooper that loves to have fun, and a founding member of the Midwest Garrison, Luis Boileve. He has a smile that lights up a room and a love for trooping that spills out from behind the helmet. Luis has been donning Star Wars costumes for 20 years to bring smiles, joy, and happiness to this galaxy. So without further ado, let us get to know Luis Boileve, Member ID # 604.



Luis, you were one of the founding members back in 1999. 20 years is a long time with a hobby and obviously many changes have occurred within the Garrison. How have you kept your passion for Star Wars Costuming for 20 years?

The Star Wars part was easy. I've always loved Star Wars, the passion started when I was 9 and I saw that first Stormtrooper bust through the doors of the Tantive IV. I fell in love with Stormtroopers instantly and literally dreamed of having a Stormtrooper as my best friend.

How have you maintained your desire to stay a part of a changing organization?

Honestly, I just go with the flow. I was the original XO (we called it Second in Command) to Mike Washko as CO. I was also a Legion Forum Board Officer but stepped down from that as well. I now stay out of politics and always try to surround myself with positive people/troopers. There are a lot of wonderful people in this organization and I am proud to be a small part of it.

How did you become aware of the 501st?

I researched obtaining Stormtrooper armor and during that time I ran across a GeoCities website named Detention Block 2551 (if I remember correctly) for a group stormtroopers. It was just a list of names and pictures and I wanted to make that list. I emailed Albin Johnson when I got my armor and he "officially" listed me on his page and sent me an awesome letter with my first patch and welcomed me to the 501st. That for me was a wonderful moment. I was accepted, and I was a Stormtrooper.

After becoming aware, what helped you decide to start a garrison?

In 1999 Mike Washko (TK895), Arturo Delgado (TK412), Javier Esqueda (TK265), and myself, just kind of said, let's do this. Everything fell into place and we just decided to form a garrison. Maybe the stars aligned perfectly, or we were just at the right place at the right time. Either way I am very thankful and grateful to know these three men (and their families), who are now my brothers.

Starting a garrison back in 1999 was probably a different process than it would be today, but what were some of the obstacles back then?

In the beginning there really weren't obstacles. Things were way different back then, "before the dark times, Before the Empire."

How did you and the founding members recruit new people?

At every and any event, we would make it a point to talk to everyone interested and promote as much as possible. Our first events were always someone who knew us, family and friends and then it grew by word of mouth, then television news interviews and so on. More and more people became curious and we just kept promoting the 501st - Midwest Garrison's good name and what we do and why.

Did you ever imagine that after 20 years, there would be 6 garrisons within 5 states and well over 500 members (and maybe closer to 1000 members)?

I had no clue, all I knew is I was amongst friends that had the same passion and love for Star Wars that I had. I was able to travel from city to city, state to state and meet new brothers and sisters from every walk of life and we were instant friends.

What costume/costumes do you have?

I have:
Classic Stormtrooper
Classic Sandtrooper
Biker Scout
Tusken Raider
Death Trooper (Zombie not the Rogue One TX)


Why did you choose that costume?

I originally chose Stormtrooper because I fell in love with them the first time I saw them on screen. I always wanted to have one as my friend and as I got older, I wanted to be one. In 2002 at Celebration 2 I was officially a Stormtrooper. We did guard duty as security while wearing armor and we got reimbursed with badges to Celebration. So technically that's when I became an official Stormtrooper working for Lucas. Then again in 2007 at the Tournament of Roses, that was a wonderful time!

Are you currently working on any others, and if so, what are they?

I have Ralph McQuarrie Stormtrooper armor I need to put together and my wife's Stormtrooper armor as well.

What would you like to do in the future if you would like to do more costumes/uniforms?

I'm always up for new costumes, but I am also a Ghostbuster and I have a Predator Costume

What is your favorite part of trooping an event?

At first it was the, "Wow, did you see that Stormtrooper!!??" Then it was the reminder of how I felt when I was a child and wanted a Stormtrooper to be my best friend and I turned my focus to the kids in the back. What I mean is, most parents push their kids up front of the crowds to take pictures and there are some that are left out. They are usually behind the crowd. There are always enough troopers for pictures, and I don't like to stand still so I walk around and look for a new "best friend".

The hardest part is trying to be fair and taking turns with the children. I try my best to keep them lined up in my head according to how they got my attention and try to give each and everyone of them my unconditional attention. That would have made me as a child so incredibly happy, so I try and do that for others.

I still find small birthday parties and hospital visits the best and they warm my heart. I don't really go to conventions anymore unless it's to meet up with old friends.


What has been your favorite event that you have participated in and why? What made it stand out?

I submitted this a few years back and it still stands out as my favorite Troop

TK-604 of the 501st Midwest Garrison shares a story about why he troops...

Back in 2000, at the #StarWars Magic of Myth museum exhibit, we were standing around taking pictures in a big group but I can't stand still, I NEED to mingle and walk around, so as I worked my way through the gigantic crowd that surrounded us, I saw a little boy in a wheelchair. He was in the back of the crowd and couldn't get any closer. This was a big crowd. The #501st was still new, and people had never seen anything like us before.
I walked up to him and his little body was deformed, he couldn't speak well, and he was kind of pushed back in his wheelchair to one side. I extended my hand to him and said, "Hi!" His sister told his mother in Spanish that the Stormtrooper wouldn't understand her brother, as the kid was trying to say something (again in Spanish). I really couldn't hear him because he was a tiny little thing and had a soft voice, so I said "Como estas, me llamo TK-604," in my broken Spanish and the kid FREAKED! He sat up, reached out and grabbed me to hug me, and his family started tearing up and told me he doesn't get excited anymore. That tiny little kid pulled me down to him and hugged me like I have never been hugged before.

I still think of that day and feel that hug when I need a good memory because I'm having a bad day at work or something. From the kid's point of view just imagine being confined to a wheelchair but you like Star Wars and you get to see Magic of Myth and then Star Wars characters and THEN one of them talks to you in your language? How cool did that kid feel? In all reality, I think I felt even better than he did.

I always say I am thankful for the helmets; I don't need everyone see me crying when I do this. Hospital visits, retirement homes, rehab facilities, children's hospitals, children's foster homes, cancer wards, I've been to animal hospitals as well, no, not for the pets but their guardians. I LOVE THIS HOBBY!!! For those that don't know me you should, I'm just like you. The love and passion for this hobby we share is the same. We do it to show off our costumes and wear them in public, to show off our skills and the benefits we receive are smiles. WHAT A PAYOFF!!
With much love and respect,

Luis TK604 Boileve


On a more personal note, and only share what you want to share since this will be public.
What do you for a living?


I'm a Lead Field Service Tech for BD / CareFusion covering or assisting to cover 24/7 Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, Minnesota, The Dakota's, Montana, Wyoming, Idaho and Spokane, Washington

What do your Family and Friends think of your Star Wars Costuming Hobby?

They love it and support me 100 percent, especially my wonderful wife, Tracy.

What is your Favorite Color?

Blue

What is a non-Star Wars hobby, that you like to do? What are your other interests?

I am also a Windy City Ghostbuster and I also am part of the Predator Clan.

If you want to share anything about your family, please do. If you don't want to, that's fine.

I have one brother and two sisters, but my sister has one sister and two brothers!

What is your favorite Star Wars movie? Why is that one a favorite?

I always say, "Star Wars" and it was named Star Wars before they updated it to "A New Hope" because that is the one that brought me into this amazing world and Stormtroopers.

What is something that most people don't know about you that you would like to share?

Although he may have a tough exterior, he's just a big softie. (Quoted by my wife, Tracy.)

If you could have dinner with one famous person dead or alive, who would it be?

Hmmmm, Famous? I would rather have dinner with my parents just one more time.

What is your favorite thing about being a part of the MWG?

Instant friendship, as soon as you join, you are among friends and one of us.

Finally, what would you like to tell someone who was looking and possibly thinking about joining the Midwest Garrison or any of the Star Wars Costuming groups?

Stretch out with your feelings and join! You won't regret it!




Under the Spotlight, Under the Armor
By Dirty Scout on Nov 20, 2019 at 2:26 PM.
Under the Spotlight, Under the Armor 3



In part three of our trooper spotlight, "Under the Spotlight, Under the Armor," we have the privilege to introduce another one of our wonderful stormtroopers. We hope that you will enjoy getting to know our members as they open up to their fellow members and to the public. This young chemist always has a smile on her face, even though you cannot see it underneath that helmet. She is a loyal friend and dedicated trooper. Without further ado, let's get to know Isabella Wong, member ID# 10232.

How long have you been a member of the 501st/MWG?
About 4 years

How did you become aware of the 501st and the MWG?
I have a friend that invited me to Star Wars Day in Joliet about 5-6 years ago. He was a Death Trooper (when EU was considered canon) and I met all of the other Star Wars characters. He began to tell me about the 501st and what they do.

After becoming aware, what helped you decide to become a member and join the Star Wars Costuming group?
I have always been a big Star Wars fan and I really wanted to become a Storm Trooper because they're just so cool to look at and people love them! But seeing them in their "official" armor rather than just something from the Halloween store was even more enthralling. Plus, the fact that it's a non-profit group that loves to cosplay for charity and special events just because they love Star Wars also drew me in. The look on the children's faces when they see a real trooper, Mandolorian, wookie, etc. was what made me join the group.

What costume/costumes do you have?
Just a TK ANH edition

Why did you choose that costume?
I love dressing as a storm trooper because you get to wear the bucket and people are sometimes surprised that a girl is wearing the suit. It's a classic and you cannot go wrong with it! Plus, you can never have enough storm troopers!

Are you currently working on any others, and if so, what are they?
I am currently looking into a Shore Trooper from Rogue One.

What would you like to do in the future if you would like to do more costumes/uniforms?
I would like to cycle in and out my costumes, if I ever have time to work on them. I am not good at building costumes or sewing, so I have to ask someone to do it for me.

What is your favorite part of trooping an event?
Seeing how the people, especially the children, react!

What has been your favorite event that you have participated in and why? What made it stand out?
I like doing the Adler After Dark events. I like it because it fits the theme of space and Star Wars and also because other adults cosplay. It's just fun to walk around and take lots of different pictures in different poses. And you get to talk to enthusiastic adults that either understand or respect the world of cosplay.

On a more personal note, and only share what you want to share since this will be public.

What do you for a living?
Chemist

What do your Family and Friends think of your Star Wars Costuming Hobby?
They're pretty amused. They don't mind as long as I like doing it and it's safe. Also as long as I don't go broke lol

What is your Favorite Color?
Blue

What is a non Star Wars hobby, that you like to do? What are your other interests?
I like to cycle and ice skate. Road biking is one of my favorite things to do. I can ride for hours because it makes you feel free and you are getting a lot of good exercise.



What is your favorite Star Wars movie? Why is that one a favorite?
The Empire Strikes Back. A very worth sequel that strongly continues the saga. The twist and turns don't feel cheap or forced.

What is something that most people don't know about you that you would like to share?
I love high end designer bags and high heels! I like to keep a collection of those in my closet.

If you could have dinner with one famous person, who would it be?
Billy Corgan. I am a Pumpkin head

What is your favorite thing about being a part of the MWG?
Pretty much everyone helps the other out with events and costuming. You get to to meet all different kinds of people and you can end up building long lasting friendships and relationships.

Finally, what would you like to tell someone who was looking and possibly thinking about joining the Midwest Garrison or any of the Star Wars Costuming groups?
It might seem really intimidating and scary because there are a lot of people committed to Star Wars cosplay. The costumes may seem expensive, but the reward is priceless. If you REALLY enjoy cosplay and playing a role just for fun, then I recommend joining. A lot of the members will help you when you have trouble with your costume or if you're looking to get a new kit. I would not be able to become a storm trooper without the valuable help and advice of several people (they are now one of my closest friends). And you don't have to "compete" with others. You don't have to have the most costumes, the best props, or the most troops. Just as long as you enjoy what you are doing, then there's nothing wrong with it. We all have each other's backs. There's probably more that I want to say, but I think it's along the lines of what I just said.
Isabella Wong
TK 10232



Happy Veteran's Day
By Dirty Scout on Nov 8, 2019 at 2:35 AM.
The Midwest Garrison Command Staff would like to give a special salute to all of our Veterans. We thank you for your service and appreciate your call to duty. A few of our troopers were willing to share their service photos and their branch of service, we salute our fine men and women that have served our country and now serve our costuming group through their community outreach.




Brad Hartsock - Air Force
Christan Medina - Air Force
Michael Stoughton - Air Force
Dan Venske - Army National Guard
Andrew Warchol - Army.
Sean Crockett - Army
Javier Esqueda - Marines.
Joshua Robertson - Marines
Peter Lewis - Marines.
Thomas Little - Navy


https://imgur.com/gallery/DJvi0iJ


Under the Spotlight, Under the Armor
By Dirty Scout on Oct 21, 2019 at 5:55 PM.
Under the Spotlight 2



Welcome to "Under the spotlight, underneath the armor. I am Midwest Garrison!" We hope that you will enjoy getting to know our members as they open up to their fellow members and to the public.

Central Illinois is sometimes referred to as the Heart of Illinois and whether that is Peoria, Bloomington, Springfield, Pekin, Washington, Champaign, or Decatur-the interstates that crisscross through this area connects the Midwest Garrison like veins and arteries to the heart. Many troopers and friends refer to our next Spotlight individual as a man with a big heart. Sean Crockett is a former soldier, a husband, a father, and a leader. So it with great pleasure that we have the opportunity to introduce Sean Crockett, member ID# 42975

Sean, how long have you been a member of the 501st/MWG?
It will be 3 years in April.

How did you become aware of the 501st and the MWG?
I learned of the 501st a few years back when visiting a friend in Colorado. His daughter was in a children's hospital. I was visiting her and it just happened that a group of Star Wars costumers were there as well. I could not believe the smile on her face, it really brightened her day.


After becoming aware, what helped you decide to become a member and join the Star Wars Costuming group?
Seeing that smile on my friend's lil girl's face did it for me that day.

What costume/costumes do you have?
As of right now, I have a full TIE Fighter Pilot (ANH). I know I did it backwards, usually it's reserve first but I never do anything easy.


Was there a particular reason why you choose that costume?
Growing up always liked aviation and grew up around. My dad is a pilot, both private and corporate. So I guess being around aviation helped me make that decision.

Are you currently working on any other costumes and if so, what are they?
I just started working on a snow scout.

What would you like to do in the future if you would like to do more costumes/uniforms?
I am not sure what would be next, something that is rare in the Garrison. Hence the snow scout, along with the fact that it's cool.


What is your favorite part of trooping an event?
My favorite part is not only the smiles on the kids faces but the adults as well.


What has been your favorite event that you have participated in and why? What made it stand out?
They have all been favorites. My first troop, my first hospital troop, and the movie premiers.
But I think the top one is the TEAM WYATT Benefit. And not just for the trooping of the event, but the fact and idea of working with the folks putting the benefit together in the community, and getting to know the family, and becoming friends with the family.


On a more personal note, and only share what you want to share since this will be public.

What do you do for a living?
I am a melt deck operator in a foundry. Meaning that I load the metal furnaces figure out the chemistries for the iron or steel we are doing that day and making the proper adjustments to make that type of metal we are pouring.

What do your Family and Friends think of your Star Wars Costuming Hobby?
My family and friends think it's great. Family wise, my wife is very supportive and thinks it's awesome of what WE all do. My direct family always like to show pics and tell friends and anyone who would listen about us.
My friends, sure they give some rubbing about it but they think it's awesome, and a few have even requested us and have helped at some events we have been at.


What is your Favorite Color?
Black and Red

What is a non Star Wars hobby, that you like to do? What are your other interests?
I build aircraft models. Mainly WWII aircraft due to the fact of the many unique types built for different jobs that were done.
I also help out at my VFW.

If you want to share anything about your family, please do. If you don't want to, that's fine.
I am married to a great gal, Angela. She actually had the idea of getting married on May the 4th (MAY the Fourth Be With You) and to have members of the Garrison involved in our wedding.
We have a great boy who is 11 years old, Keaghan. When we all first met back when Angela and I were dating, he learned of what we did and wanted to be a part of it so he joined the GA (Galactic Academy-a youth costuming group). We also have a daughter, Mackenzie. She will be 1 year old Oct. 30. She is my first child. She's a little ornery and she always has a great smile. A few of the Garrison members have met her at a couple of our events.


What is your favorite Star Wars movie? Why is that one a favorite?
I love all the movies, the originals are better in my opinion, but Rogue One would be up there. It kept to the original style, at least I think so, but it also ties in the movie very well to ANH.

What is something that most people don't know about you that you would like to share?
If I told you, everyone would know, lol. Seriously though, I really don't know. Only thing I can think of is what my job was when I was active in the Army. Not a lot of people know that but I think I will keep it that way, sorry.

If you could have dinner with one famous person dead or alive, who would it be?
John Wayne if they had to be famous. If not, then there are some WWII pilots I would like to meet that I have read about, both allied and axis. I guess that is due to the honor and brotherhood that they had. The book "A Higher Call" is a great example, it's a great read.

What is your favorite thing about being a part of the MWG?
The friendship, sense of family. Plus the willingness to help with a new kit and the warm welcome to new members.

Finally, what would you like to tell someone who was looking and possibly thinking about joining the Midwest Garrison or any of the Star Wars Costuming groups?
Well this goes back to the last question. Combine that answer with the joy on the kids faces and the adults and you really got it together.
I know not the best selling point when asked about getting involved is the cost of the finished costume, but when asked I tell them what mine was after building and so on, but after that, I always tell them that the first smile you see from a child while wearing your kit pays for it all right there. All the other smiles are great bonuses.
:bucketsoff:


UNDER THE SPOTLIGHT 1
By Dirty Scout on Sep 30, 2019 at 12:39 PM.


Welcome to "Under the spotlight, underneath the armor. I am Midwest Garrison!"

We will be spotlighting and interviewing members of the MWG (Midwest Garrison). We hope that you will enjoy getting to know our members as they open up to their fellow members and the public. This is our inaugural spotlight for 2019 and it is with great pleasure that we have the opportunity to introduce newly married Lizzie Lindenbaum-Gaudio, member ID# 20029.

How long have you been a member of the 501st/MWG?
6 months in October!

How did you become aware of the 501st and the MWG?
At my university in Minnesota, we did a Star Wars show in marching band, and the 501st Legion made an appearance. I remember being astonished by the quality of their costumes, but as a broke college student, joining was a faraway dream.

After becoming aware, what helped you decide to become a member and join the Star Wars Costuming group?
Every time I saw photos or videos of people dressed as Stormtroopers, I thought it looked like the coolest thing in the world! Finally I did research on how to get a screen-accurate costume with the thought of just wearing it around at costume parties, and in the process I rediscovered the 501st Legion. Only then did I learn about the group's charity work, and I was completely sold!

What costume/costumes do you have?
TK (Stormtrooper)-ANH Stunt

Why did you choose that costume?
They're immediately recognizable, I enjoy the anonymity, and I love the E-11.

Are you currently working on any others, and if so, what are they?
Not at the moment.

What would you like to do in the future if you would like to do more costumes/uniforms?
Shoretrooper

What is your favorite part of trooping an event?
Seeing kids (and adults) light up!

What has been your favorite event that you have participated in and why? What made it stand out?
Barring the obvious choices (Joliet Star Wars Day & Weird Al concert), my favorite was the Girl Scout Star Wars event in Orland Hills. It was my second event, my fellow troopers were incredibly warm and welcoming at a time when I was still a bit nervous, and all the little girls running around dressed as Star Wars characters was so cool to see. I could not help but see my younger self in all of them.

On a more personal note, and only share what you want to share since this will be public.

What do you for a living?
I am a money laundering investigator at a bank in downtown Chicago

What do your Family and Friends think of your Star Wars Costuming Hobby?
They are very supportive

What is your Favorite Color?
Green

What is a non Star Wars hobby, that you like to do? What are your other interests?
I enjoy oil painting

If you want to share anything about your family, please do. If you don't want to, that's fine.
I grew up in rural Central Illinois and am very proud of my rural roots. My great-grandfather, both of my grandfathers, and my father are farmers.

What is your favorite Star Wars movie? Why is that one a favorite?
Return of the Jedi. As a child, I was captivated by the scenes at Jabba's Palace and by the forests on Endor and still am.

What is something that most people do not know about you that you would like to share?
My favorite movie of all time is Jurassic Park

If you could have dinner with one famous person, dead or alive, who would it be?
Carrie Fisher

What is your favorite thing about being a part of the MWG?
I love the sense of community in the MWG

Finally, what would you like to tell someone who was looking and possibly thinking about joining the Midwest Garrison or any of the Star Wars Costuming groups?
DO IT. You will not regret it!


Star Wars Celebration Chicago
By iam8114 on Apr 1, 2019 at 12:36 PM.


The Midwest Garrison is proud to be the host Garrison for 2019's Star Wars Celebration in Chicago at McCormick Place April 11-15. Come see the largest turn out of Star Wars costumers this side of the Mos Eisley Cantina.

For more details on the convention and everything going on, please visit https://www.starwarscelebration.com/

See you at the con!

Star Wars Day - Joliet
By Faylyn on Jun 3, 2018 at 4:37 PM.
On June 2nd at Star Wars Days - Joliet the Midwest Garrison was able to induct Mark Boudreaux as an Honorary Member. We were able to have our LCO - Bryon Mesarch be able to present him with the 501st Honorary Membership Plaque.

As Senior Principal Toy Designer for Hasbro, he designed many of the toys you may have enjoyed as a kid or collected! Most iconic of his designs was the Millennium Falcon!








April is Autism Awareness Month
By Avatar190 on Apr 2, 2018 at 8:02 PM.


Today (April 2nd) is World Autism Awareness Day, and April is Autism Awareness Month. Midwest Garrison is supporting for the understanding and acceptance of people on the autism spectrum! #autism #autismawareness #autismawarenessday #LightItUpBlue #autismspectrum #autismspeaks #501stMWG #StarWars #BadGuysDoingGood


Helping Conquer Childhood Cancer
By Faylyn on Mar 19, 2018 at 7:55 PM.
Over the last week the MWG had several events to help raise awareness for childhood cancer. We had several members who went bald. Together they raised $2,840.00 for the St.Baldricks events total of $170,782.00.

#RockTheBald TK-10045, IG-10908, DZ-12164, BH-3499, TK-523 and our friend Matthew Waite.




Celebrating National Reading Month
By Faylyn on Mar 11, 2018 at 8:48 AM.
What other way would you celebrate National Reading Month than having Kylo Ren read to you. Our own SL9965 reading to the crowd at CPNBookFair.