Nine-year-old Alvin Garcia Flores was born without his right arm, but on Jan. 14, the force with which he’d been hoping for a new chance presented itself in the form of Darth Vader and a mysterious black box.
The infamous Star Wars villain and a group of Clone Troopers presented Flores, a longtime fan of the franchise, with the 3-D printed bionic arm he had put on his Christmas list during a school assembly at Gateway Elementary in Omaha, Nebraska.
The bionic arm was 3-D printed by UCF’s Limbitless Solutions team as part of its 12 Arms for Christmas campaign, and was delivered by the 501st Legion, an international costuming club dedicated to celebrating Star Wars with fans.
“When we were asked to help present this gift to Alvin there was no hesitation in accepting as it falls directly in line with one of the primary missions of our organization,” said John Jaeckel, a member of the 501st who coordinated the delivery in Omaha. “One of the tag lines we use to promote our organization is ‘Bad Guys Doing Good’ and we are honored when organizations and groups contact us and ask us to be a part of something amazing.”
501st Legion was contacted by the Limbitless team to deliver the bionic arm, but it all started when the fourth-grader’s principal, Terry Burton, reached out to the UCF-based non-profit with a hope for Flores.
“I hope that the arm gives Alvin more self-confidence at school around his peers,” said Burton in a news release.
The UCF team of students constructed prostheses for Flores and 11 other children all across the nation, ranging from Florida, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, New York and other states.
“I’m so excited for him to join our Limbitless family,” said Albert Manero, founder of Limbitless Solutions, in a news release.
Daniela Marin is a digital producer for the Central Florida Future. Follow her on Twitter at @dan__marin or email her at DanielaM@CentralFloridaFuture.com.