by Max Marbut
It looked like they were filming a scene from “Star Wars” Wednesday at Wolfson Children’s Hospital when several members of the 501st Legion Star Wars Storm Troopers costuming fan club arrived to cheer up the patients.
In addition to putting a lot of smiles on the faces on the children and their families, the Troopers also donated 50 tickets for this week’s Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida Pops Series. Patients, parents and staff will hear the orchestra perform selections from “John Williams’ Greatest Hits.” The program will be conducted by Michael Krajewski and includes some of Williams’ most well-known music composed for films including “Star Wars, “ “Superman,” “Harry Potter,” Indiana Jones” and “Schindler’s List.”
Wolfson Children’s Hospital Administrator Larry J. Freeman said it wasn’t the first time the Storm Troopers had invaded the building. He pointed out they are one of many groups that regularly donate their time to provide a welcome distraction from the hospital experience for patients and their families.
“The community really supports the hospital,” said Freeman. “We have at least two groups who come here every week. It’s everyone from the Jaguars and their cheerleaders to the Gator Bowl and Shrine Bowl teams and all four Florida Forum speakers each year.
“We have senior citizens groups who make and donate lap robes and firefighters who come to the hospital to make ice cream sundaes for everyone. Just the groups who have come here in the past month are too numerous for me to list.”
Freeman added it’s something that could not be duplicated even with an unlimited budget and hundreds of staff dedicated to the effort. Some of the volunteers have been contributing for more than 20 years.
”We couldn’t provide the experience without the help of the groups and the people who share their time and energy,” he said. “The children and their families love them. They are thrilled and it truly brightens their day.”
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