In addition to the 501st Legion uniting Star Wars fans worldwide, it also likes to recognize those people who contribute their time and talents to the Star Wars community in special way. These people who support of the 501st and Star Wars fandom are called “Friends of the 501st Legion.”
During San Diego Comic-Con International 2009, one such person was recognized by the Southern California Garrison for his continual support of the 501st Legion as well as for his undying love for all things Star Wars — Heroes actor Milo Ventimiglia.
Already well-known as a hardcore Star Wars fan as well as a fan of the 501st, Milo also supports real-life troops fighting overseas by working with the military veterans organization Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA).
Southern California Garrison XO Lesley Farquhar, who sponsored Milo’s induction, had this to say about their newest Friend of the 501st:
“Milo Ventimiglia has been a great Star Wars fan for years. Not only does he have fun with the lightsaber battles and props, but another similarity we have is our devotion to charity work. The 501st Legion is noted for its charity work for soldiers around the world, and this is something Milo has a passion for as well. Anyone with that kind of passion for charity and love for the genre fits right in! Now we just need to get him in armor!”
Milo was presented a custom plaque, coin and custom name badge commemorating his “Friend of the 501st” relationship with the 501st Legion. Keeping with tradition, the induction was a complete surprise to Milo who was ambushed by the Southern California garrison, and myself, at the end of his Top Cow comics panel at Comic-Con where he was promoting the two new comic titles his production company DiViDe Pictures is supporting — Rest and Berserker.