My Day as a Stormtrooper aka the 2013 ACS Relay For Life!

May the cure be with you purple

A lot has happened since “My Day as a Stormtrooper” aka the 2013 American Cancer Society Relay For Life of Sky Valley (from this point on called the ‘RFL’).

Well, maybe a lot hasn’t happened, I’ve just been busy making a lot happen, if that makes sense.

If you’ve read my blog for any length of time you’ll know the importance, the passion and the time I pour into the RFL. This year, in the midst of attempting to keep my new business afloat, watching my younglings become more mobile, loving my wife, helping 30 teenagers grow in their faith, and numerous other activities, was no different. Except that mentally it was.

Three days after the RFL had ended I felt a great weight off my shoulders. For the first time in 10 months I felt relaxed. I whistled “Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah” as I skipped towards another Chamber luncheon, leaving the question of whether or not I would return for a third year as the co-Event Chair, behind me.

Kinda felt like Irwin M. Fletcher in this clip after this year’s event.

In recent weeks I’ve thought about it, only because I usually write an exhaustive recap of the event, with some of my top 5 moments of the day. You can read about 2012’s moments here. They will far outweigh this year’s moments, only because this year seemed like a total blur. The excitement from Opening Ceremony, and the exhaustion from the previous 10 months caught up with me halfway through the day and after that I don’t recall what happened.

It was two years ago this month that I decided to take on Event Chair duties, somewhat recruiting my buddy Jerry, to co-chair with me.

We set lofty goals for the event. We wanted to break records for money raised, registered teams and participants, and survivors, and we wanted to become a Pacesetter event for the first time in event history.

We came close to all of those goals in 2012, reaching only the registered team mark, with a Mark McGwire-esque 60 teams.

In 2013, we set a Barry Bonds-esque record of 72 teams, and though we didn’t break records for money raised, we were one of the few events that actually improved on their total, thus allowing us to become a Pacesetter event.


My proudest accomplishment was seeing an estimated 150 survivors registered for the event (30 more than the prior record). The survivor goal was one that I strove to break when we began this journey. After all, that’s why we are here fighting. We fight for these survivors, so that they can continue to survive. Most of you know my story. I Relay for a Survivor.

Me and My Survivor! What a Trooper!


Yah, there were highlights.

Opening Ceremony was a blast. Our theme this year was “May the Cure Be With You” and thanks to the 501st Legion: Vader’s Fist, I was able to wear the authentic Stormtrooper outfit. It was awesome! I wore it for about three hours before you had to peel it off of me. Jerry (as Chewie) and I entered with a few other Star Wars characters. Yes, there’s video of it!

I do regret not having our Committee walk in with us. I wanted to surprise them but instead we had them introduced as we did at last year’s event. It would’ve been cool to have them follow us in. I’d do that over if I could.

Overall the Star Wars theme was fun, of course I’m a Fanboy (see prior post), so I’m going to think that. Everyone did a wonderful job with the Star Wars theme lap, and a super job at the Road to Recovery parade, where you create a car (or in this case, a ship) out of cardboard.


Other key moments …

The Survivor / Opening Ceremony presentation was great. Our Survivorship chair did a great job with presenting the speakers and having everyone receive their medals (some presented by the Star Wars characters).


The Luminaria ceremony was great! Our Luminaria Chair did a wonderful job. Again, the speakers were great and the lighting of the bags was wonderful. I only wished I had written something better to say than to stumble over words I didn’t know I was saying.

Love Lukas's "Wimpy Kid" version of his mom!
Love Lukas’s “Wimpy Kid” version of his mom!

The Lip Sync Competition continued to improve. We had 5-6 quality acts, where in years past we’d have 1-2. My brothers and I performed “Gangnam Style” (if anyone has video, please send), and though we won the judge’s votes, we failed to win the hearts of the crowd who took four Elvis’s performing a Star Wars medley.


Closing Ceremony saw another HUGE turnout, which is impressive considering it’s usually at 7am the following morning and most have been up since 8am the day before. I did write something for this, but I was a blubbering mess attempting to thank my co-chair, committee and the participants that have supported the event.

Thank YOU to everyone that continues to support this event, and that supported myself, Jerry and our committee the last two years. I appreciate those that recognize the work that we put in to this event, are grateful for the numerous volunteers that take time out of their already busy lives to promote and put on the event, and for those of you that hoped I would return. Now if I can only get you to support my business, I’d be able to give back more of my time to this wonderful event.

Special THANKS to our Committee for putting in a ton of volunteer hours, and once again making Jerry and I look like we know what we’re doing. It was truly a privilege working with you all. It felt like family, we were truly a Dream Team.

The Dream Team aka Our Committee!

And to my co-chair. “They” said it couldn’t be done, but we did it! Two dudes running an event like this. Ha! We learned a lot in these two years about how to manage a large group of volunteers. We had a lot of fun, rarely had a disagreement (which is HUGE), were often on the same page, learned a lot from each other and about each other, and we accomplished goals we set out to accomplish. We were a good team, played the Good Cop / Bad Cop routine well, and became closer friends by having fun doing something we’re completely passionate about. Thank YOU!


What’s on tap for next year? It will be Team Force’s 10th season. Do we attempt to bring back everyone that ever participated on our team? Why do I think they’ll return if they didn’t return before? Will I return? And if so, in what capacity?

Mother did a wonderful job replacing me as Team Captain, but has already stated she doesn’t want to return. Hmm … could this event have been our Swan Song? Probably not but …

May the Cure Be With You – Always!

Have you missed my writing here? Probably not, but just in case you have check me out at PopBlerd! where I’ve written or collaborated on pieces about: Mumford & Sons “Hopeless Wanderer”, Pearl Jam – LIVE in My Dreams, My Life as a Backstreet Boy … Fan, Best Road Trip Movies EVER!, Star Wars: Attack of the Rumors!, Valentine’s Day Crushes, and “I Don’t Follow Sports“. 

One thought on “My Day as a Stormtrooper aka the 2013 ACS Relay For Life!

  1. good post homie g. Just read it. I’m at work and about to head to class. What happened to our email correspondence? You just disappeared.


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