Georgia
February 10, 2007
Story and Photos by Jim DeJan (ti-3853)

 

SUMMARY REPORT
The Rose family barely escaped with their lives, much less anything else when their home was destroyed by fire on January 19, 2007. A neighbor took Scott Rose tk-346 and his daughter Savanah and autistic son Brandon in until they found another house to rent. The home and Scott’s car were a total loss. They got out with only the clothes on their backs.

Things couldn’t have been worse. However, what Scott didn’t know was that help was on the way.

For a number of weeks Tom tk-118 Schaefer of the Midwest Garrison had been rallying the 501st to aid the family with posts and reports on the Legion board, yahoo chat rooms and constant phone calls to members of other garrisons and organizing a relief mission that would rival the Berlin Airlift.

Soon donations began rolling in from all over the Empire to a covert operation that would relieve the trauma the family had barely survived. Clothes, toys, household goods, furniture from local charities and even a used pickup were donated. Scott even found a new job at IMPERIAL MORTGAGE CO., to replace the one he had lost two weeks before the fire. Still the trauma and loss were overwhelming.

From different starting points on February 10th, Schaefer and Jim ti3853 DeJan took off from points in Northern and Central Illinois to travel to Georgia with a van full of goods and collection of funds from Legionnaires all over the globe. J.R. Presnell from Forsyth, Georgia received donations locally and was scheduled to meet Schaefer and DeJan at a secret location. Erin McBride and her Husband, Biker Scout, Jed tb-3389 McBride worked closely and in secret to rally local troops into action. Jayne “ARX” Rogers ti-822 was preparing to have a washer and dryer delivered to Scott’s new house. Amy and Ryan Daval, longtime close friends of Scott and his family, and Jimmy tk-1025 Burns, prepared a cunning diversion to get Scott and his kids out of the house while the forces converged on the target, Alpharetta, Georgia.

While Scott and the kids were having family portraits taken to replace those lost in the fire, the conspirators closed in on Scott’s new rental home. Family friend, Arlene got the key to allow the crew to unload the car loads of boxes into the family’s living room. Hundreds of action figures, toys, dishes, DVDs, collectibles, dishes, clothes, household goods, even a fax machine were unpacked and displayed around the room. The two troopers and biker scout armored up and took up positions in front of the home to await the arrival of the family. DeJan, Presnell and Erin McBride took up positions to take video of the Family as they arrived.

When Scott got out of the car, he knew something was up. It’s not every day a trio of TROOPERS, Jed tb-3389 McBride, Hal tk-9609 Clay, Alec tk-332 Smith & guard your home. The fact that every possible parking space was taken up was pretty much a tip off too. Plus having strangers taking video of his coming home, even Scott knew this wasn’t going to be a normal day.

As he entered the front door he started seeing the donations stacked up in the room. Schaefer (the architect of this whole mission) had weaved the web of deception that allowed this Surprise to unfold. He hid in the bathroom as Scott and his kids took the spectacle of gifts in. As Ryan Daval helped Scott take in the reality of the moment and regain his composure he then told Scott that, “There is someone else here who wants to say Hi.” As Scott spied Schaefer, he exclaimed, “YOU SON OF A BANTHA!” (paraphrased).

Laughs, tears and hugs were exchanged and then Schaefer brought out the BIG SURPRISE. Schaefer handed a huge “Happy Gilmore” presentation check in the amount of $6,932.00 donated by individuals and Garrisons from all over the Empire to Scott. He was stunned to say the very least. This, in addition to the $1,100.00 donation he had received the previous day which the Florida Garrison had raised from a benefit they had held for the family, set the stage for this day’s surprise.

While the cameras rolled, the group gathered with the check before them and sang Happy Birthday Greetings to Legion Founder Albin Johnson tk210.

Donations had come in from all over the world. From Garrisons in the United States, Mexico, Canada, Germany, Italy, England, Monaco, Costa Rica, Australia, Singapore, Japan, Norway, just to name a few, From 501st, Jedi Assembly, Rebel Legion, Atlanta science fiction society, Fan Force, 118’s Groupies and co-workers, Federation Toys, Mount Prospect fire department, family, friends, even from “Heart of an Empire” folks Natalie and Jay. Starting with a single post on the Legion Forum, this miracle of good will had snowballed into a day that would be long remembered in the Empire, and especially by Scott Rose and his children, Savanah and Brandon.

Though he would never admit it, Tom Schaefer, tk-118 showed that his is truly, the Heart of the Empire, as did all of the Troopers and friends that participated in this most wonderful example of what the Legion is all about. This was a proud day to be a trooper.

After the shock of the presentation had subsided the group got into their transports and convoyed to a local restaurant, Bahama Breeze for lunch. Schaefer who is never far from his laptop began burning photo CDs for those attending.

After lunch we drove to Scott’s former home and viewed the total devastation the fire had caused. If it had been any drier, neighboring homes could have been in peril.

As Schaefer and DeJan departed on the thirteen hour drive to return to Illinois, they knew they had been a part of a very special day.

SPECIAL NOTE FROM TK-118
“I want to give a HUGE PERSONAL thank you to each and every single one of you who helped, Whether it be donations, a kind word, showing up in armor, helping me organize this or putting up with me. YOU are all who make the 501st what it is and who helped make this a PROUD day for us, and more importantly turned a tragic event into A New Hope for a fellow trooper and his kids.

I knew when I posted about what happened to Scott people would step up. I NEVER thought that the response would be as large as it turned out to be. There are STILL items coming in as we speak.

I wish I could hug and thank each one of you personally for all you have done. It means a lot to Scott and his kids, but also to me.”

If you would like to help, items can be sent to the following address:

Scott Rose
10385 Summer Creek
Alpharetta, GA 30022

Paypal donations can be sent to: srosega@hotmail.com

Youtube video can be seen at:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OT6U3ZDKUr4

More photos and video can be seen here:
http://www.tk118.com/scott1.htm

PHOTOS
To see the photo gallery containing 3 photos click here.