Friday, May 28, 2010


Welcome to 


This blog will FEATURE my

By Denise Vasquez ©2009

My desire & passion to share 

The positive light  In this dark world 

Led to the birth of this series 

All of the

Beautiful & Interesting things 

I'm discovering about people 

Was all of the inspiration I needed... 

My series began with Featuring & interviewing 

 Members of the 501st Legion

From around the world 

As I learn about the people

Who are out there

Making a difference in the world

I'll continue to share 

What I learn 

With you

Right here In my blog

With that being said

This interview Features

501st Member Jon Leopold

Who was amongst one of the first

Interviews I did for this series

Jon's been busy making a difference

So I asked Jon about recent events 

He's been involved with

And he brought "Piggy" The Mascot 

With that being said, This interview Features

-Tell us about the MDA Stride & Ride event?
The MDA Stride & Ride is a charity event where teams that raised money for MDA celebrate with their fellow participants - walkers and those using wheelchairs and scooters - as they walk or ride a one-mile "victory lap." This was their 7th Annual Stride & Ride, which took place inside Somerset Collection in Troy, MI on May 2, 2010. 

-What inspired you to want to join this event? How did you get involved?
The Great Lakes Garrison has worked with MDA over the past year at several Lock-Up events- where local business and community leaders agree to be "arrested" for having a "big heart". Their “bail” money goes to help Jerry’s kids. At the Lock-Ups, our troopers have helped escort the “prisoners” to jail and some even rode with local law enforcement officers to pick up the “jailbirds”.

Having assisted with the Lock-Ups, Robin R. Rhea, Executive Director for MDA, contacted the GLG to walk with the Stride & Ride families and cheer them on. Robin told us “We will always think of the 501st Legion. We enjoy having you attend our events and you bring such a great dynamic to the event!”

All of these events raised tens of thousands of dollars for Jerry’s kids. The Great Lakes Garrison appreciates our relationship with MDA and look forward to future events. MDA has already invited us to troop the 2011 Muscle Walk at FORD FIELD (home of the Detroit Lions), which is expecting thousands of walkers from Michigan and neighboring states.

PIGGY’s (our 12” action figure mascot) would like to answer the remaining questions:

-So Piggy, Any other upcoming events you're participating in?
I’ll be at Cherry Capital Con in Traverse City (June 12-13). After that I’ll be at the Sterling Heights Public Library’s 3rd Annual STAR WARS DAY on June 19th. It’s their biggest children’s event of the year, as 2009 had 732 Star Wars fans attending compared to around 500 for Harry Potter!!!

I’ll be at Celebration V in Orlando so come find me! I’m looking forward to the 501st Bash on Friday night and finally meeting the amazing Denise Vasquez.

Sorry Piggy, I won't be attending Celebration V in Orlando...

-Where have you traveled to participate in 501st events? Where’s the farthest you’ve traveled?
Besides attending events all over the state of Michigan; I’ve been to events in Boston, Indianapolis, Ohio, and Disney World. Blasty took me to the Tournament of Roses Parade, where one of the Queen Amidala’s snuck me with her to ride on the Naboo float. I was quite popular in Pasadena, so don’t be surprised if I’m selected Grand Marshall one year. 

The farthest event was when Blasty & lavagrrrl took me on their honeymoon in Hawai`i where we visited the Pacific Outpost at one of their events. We went straight from the airport to Bishop Museum to see the troopers in paradise.

-What’s your fondest 501st memory?
My fondest memory would be when Blasty inducted the lovely and talented Kristen Bell as an Honorary Friend of the 501st Legion at Wizard World Chicago back in 2006. KBell (as her good friends call her) held me affectionately as if I was her lifelong teddy bear while taking photos with the 501st and Rebel Legion. I think she would’ve taken me home, if it wasn’t for Blasty asking for me back. *Grrunt!*

-What’s your favorite thing about being a 501st member?
Even though me costume is as good as any official members, I’m can’t apply until I’m 18 years old. As a mascot of sorts for the 501st I really enjoy the variety of events I get to be part of and helping put smiles on kid’s faces.

Jordan Reilly (Carolina Garrison) had his nephew come to an event and we were introduced. The little boy told his parents all about the Gamorrean Guard with a hockey jersey, lei, Mickey ears, and all the pins I was wearing. The last I heard Jordan was looking for a Gamorrean 12” action figure to give to his nephew. Look out if I start cloning!

-What’s the day like for you as a 501st member preparing for an event?
Blasty takes me off of the shelf where I’m displayed and either throws be in a bin, or has me ride shotgun in the troop transport to the event. Then I’m displayed at a table or get carried around by someone. I’ll pose for photos with kids, or celebrities or whatever poses that makes the photographer gigglesnorrrt. If the troopers go out after the event, I’ll be there with them as I’m the life of the party.

-Anything else you would like to add?
PIGGY likes to promote the charity events he goes to on his facebook page. You’ll also see photos from my many adventures there. If you want me to post about your special event, send me (or Blasty) a message. Lastly, are you going to finish those fries?

Stay tuned for more GREAT Features!


Next Feature & Interview

With Jacob Dubizhansky from FanForce

Be sure to Subscribe or Follow


PeAce LOvE aRt & sOuL
Denise Vasquez


  1. Denise- thanks for the helping promote the charity work we do. Your dedication to helping others is an inspiration! Robin from MDA told me that the Stride & Ride event raised $111,000 for Jerry's kids!!!

  2. The Event raised $111,000 for Jerry's Kids? Wow! That is AMAZING!!! Together WE CAN make a difference!