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80,000 Chewbacca Hugs

Posted by Suzanne on

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I did not want the opening weekend of Star Wars - Episode III: Revenge of the Sith to go by without sharing a couple of thoughts about the 2005 NYLine. I am still processing all that went on over the 19 days – it went by so quickly that it seems like only yesterday that we were setting up the first tent in the pouring rain. Then opening night with the red carpet and the search lights and the police officers on horseback with lightsabers in hand – how can one begin to explain the sights and the sounds of so memorable an evening.

When we were all actually in the Ziegfeld that night, I was so overcome with emotion that I was shaking throughout our official award presentation not only because in less than two hours, we were all going to witness the missing chapter of our beloved saga but that we had raised $46,600 for the Starlight Starbright Children's Foundation.

With significant donations by several of our sponsors and the nearly $10,000 raised through our special e-bay auction, the final push towards reaching $46,600 came from pledges submitted by individual line members, with the average donation per member at $205. The five NYLine members listed below were recognized opening night for their outstanding fundraising work on behalf of the NYLine and Starlight:

  • Dave Evans - New York, NY: $1,152
  • Wendy Wright - New York, NY: $1,137
  • David Pinkus - Brooklyn, NY: $1,013
  • Joe James - Tarrytown, NY: $772
  • Charles Jeffreys - East Norwich, NY: $646

In addition, the five members noted below were recognized for spending the most time on the NYLine, accumulating the most points per shift and ensuring a steady presence at our 54th Street home:

  • James Prater - Middle Village, NY: 1,183 points
  • Julio Correa - Flushing, NY: 830 points
  • Marina Weber - Orlando, FL: 680 points
  • Michael & Sarah Benn - Cranston, RI: 540 points
  • Ron Greenberg - Brooklyn, NY: 533 points

The volume of donations that came in for Starlight on behalf of the NYLine was at times staggering. I became such a regular at the Commerce Bank on 6th and 55th that all the tellers knew who I was and where the money was coming from – at times, I felt like Al Pacino in Scarface making all those bank deposits!

Never in the history of the NYLine had we ever collected $700 in street donations on two separate days and over $1,000 on Saturday, May 14th when we held our Padawan Picnic. Members took to the sidewalk with the Starlight donations bins and were so eloquent with their pitch that jaded New Yorkers and amazed tourists couldn't resist and gave generously. Special kudos go out to Cully, Graciana, Sachiko, Wendy, Jamey, Line Mom, Jan, Dave and ALL the members of the Empire City Garrison who went far and beyond the call of duty for the NYLine and Starlight and were true masters of the Starlight donation bins. A special "shout-out" must also go out to Justen and Freddie who called into the radio station Z-100 because they were making fun of Star Wars fans and defended the honor of all Star Wars fans and managed to make a plug for Starlight and our online donation link leading to a $1,000 donation from Z-100!

All of the volunteer staff members of the NYLine - past and present - send $80,000 worth of Chewbacca hugs to everyone who has supported the NYLine over the past six years and its three successful Stand-A-Thons for the Starlight Starbright Children's Foundation.

May the Force Be With You Always!