Seven-year-old Liam Porter of Augusta, Georgia, is growing up fast. So fast that he keeps outgrowing his prosthetic arm, and insurance coverage limits the number of new arms he can get. Meanwhile, John Peterson of Augusta got a 3D printer and volunteered with the organization E-nable, which coordinates a network of people all over the world to make prosthetics limbs. Peterson made a prosthetic for Liam that resembled a robot and called it a Clone Trooper arm. Liam got his arm during a surprise party after he and his friend Jacob watched a movie at a local theater. The Georgia Garrison of the 501st Legion was on hand to make it extra special.
The troopers of the Georgia garrison of the 501st Legion – whose motto is “Bad guys doing good” – presented Liam with a “Friend of the Garrison” certificate and he fits right in with them as he poses in his helmet with his left arm outstretched, looking identical to theirs. Inside their armor, Jake and Melissa Barnes, of Atlanta, and local artist Jen Belgin, who is some kind of Imperial officer, turn heads as they lead Liam around the lobby drawing smiles and stares and posing for pictures. Belgin painted the helmet and detailed the arm, writing Liam’s name on it in a squiggly language called Aurebesh.
Using his new trooper arm, Liam high-fives Melissa.
“Looking good, sir,” she said, since Liam is now a commander and outranks her. “I like the helmet.”
Later, things quickly devolve as Liam and Jacob grab their blasters and take the troopers hostage.
“Wow, that escalated really quickly,” Jake says, his hands in the air. Liam is a big fan of the Star Wars movies but the family didn’t know what was coming, Ryan said.
“We were just as surprised as he was,” she said.