Pharmacy Manager: Being Bad to Do Good

Amber Jackson in her Officer Costume - naturally she's an admiral - and holding the helmet for the Biker Scout costume she is currently working on.

By day, Amber Jackson might manage TMC’s outpatient pharmacy department, but in her off hours, she becomes part of the Galactic Empire.

 Those steeped in the Star Wars saga will recall that’s the side of Darth Vader, the Imperial Stormtroopers and various assorted bad guys. In other words, they’d just as soon have Ewoks for breakfast.

 Jackson is part of the Dune Sea Garrison, one of five Star Wars groups in the state. The local group consists of about 20 active members who dress up in Star Wars regalia and raise money for charity. Its larger umbrella group, the 501st Legion, raised nearly $6 million for local and international charities last year.

 Last year, the Garrison did 150 events statewide, raising money for children’s charities, including the Children’s Miracle Network, the American Cancer Society, Heart Walk, Make-A-Wish Foundation and Toys for Tots.

 Jackson estimates she spends at least 100 hours a month doing charity events, and as much as 300 hours during the busy months of October and December, for Halloween and Christmas.

 Make no mistake. They may be Star Wars nerds – and Amber will be the first to cop to that description – but this is no amateur group. Its members strive to create movie quality, screen-accurate costumes.  Her husband, a sales manager who morphs into bounty hunter Jango Fett, tallies the cost of his costume at about $4,000. She herself is an executive officer.

 Jackson had actually never seen the series – not even the original trilogy – before meeting her husband of eight years. Now? Let’s put it this way, she has an imperial symbol tattooed on her hip. In her four-bedroom house, her two children, 13 and 16, have dibs on two of the rooms, but the fourth room is dedicated just to Star Wars stuff.  Few have Jackson’s appreciation for how many different helmets are featured in the shows and just how much room they take up.

 Aside from helping children, there are other perks. Jackson once had the chance to meet the band Smash Mouth and she once knocked Weird Al Yankovic over in his dressing room.

 OK, but why the bad guys? “Because they’re the ones the kids love,” she said.  Through it all, she remains impressed by the imagination that went into the series. “It’s a universe that doesn’t exist, and there’s something compelling about being able to make-believe yourself into something else.”


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Tucson Medical Center | 5301 E. Grant Road | Tucson, Arizona 85712 | (520) 327-5461
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