Geek of the Month
by Nicole Watts
If you’ve seen a 6’4” Stormtrooper around Peoria, chances are it was Roland. He “troops” (volunteers) almost every weekend dressed in a Stormtrooper suit that is made out of abs plastic. He has marched in several local parades and has attended charity events for local business, groups, and events.
Name: Roland Batrouni
DOB: April 18, 1986
Weight: 220 lbs
Marital status: Married.
How did you meet your wife? I met my wife on Facebook last year. We had a few dozen mutual friends
through a book fansite. She is a huge Star Wars geek and really enjoyed my Stormtrooper profile pic when she saw me on her “people you may know” banner and sent me a friend request. We started talking last summer and after a few months I decided to fly out to Serbia to visit her and her family in December and we married that following January.
Hometown? Peoria, IL (but I was born in Arlington, TX)
How did you end up in Peoria? I had family here in town and my parents moved up here when I was baby.
What makes you a geek? I’m a big kid who likes playing with toys. On the rare occasions it happens I enjoy playing Dungeons & Dragons, Magic the Gathering, Settlers of Catan, or any other games when I can find the time for them. I rationalize and try making sense of the sciences, tech,
and social structures of various SciFi stories, shows, and film. But I guess the more obvious reason that makes me a geek is that I dress up as a Stormtrooper almost every other weekend and volunteer for various charities and charity events throughout Illinois and its bordering states. The group I belong to is The Midwest Garrison of the 501st Legion, which is made up primarily of “bad guy” characters from Star Wars. We are bad guys doing good things. The 501st Legion’s sister groups are The Rebel Legion which is comprised of the “good guys” and The Mandalorian Mercs Costume Club which is home to the custom Mandalorians.
How long have you
been trooping? Over 3 years, but I’ve been officially with The 501st for these last 2 years.
How’s your aim? My aim? Personally I’m a pretty good shot. On another note: Stormtroopers, believe it or not are incredibly good shots. They are the unsung heroes of Star Wars. Without their intentionally missing their targets, the more popular heroes of Star Wars never would have succeeded and the Rebels would not have fulfilled their missions with such high self-esteem.
Favorite Star Wars Movie? Return of the Jedi
Favorite Star Wars character? Stormtroopers
movie(s)? The Matrix Trilogy
Favorite book(s)? The Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan
Favorite band? Lately I have been listening to Streetlight Manifesto and whatever comes across my Pandora.
Guilty pleasure? Skyrim, oh and pistachio ice cream.
Favorite place in Peoria? Springdale Cemetery
Do you have any pets? 2 cats (Kumari & Eponine) and a Green Iguana I recently rescued named Bossk. Bossk is named after one of the bounty hunters in Star Wars and my wife has a Siberian Husky named Anakin.
costuming, road tripping. I also help co-host a weekly podcast every few weeks or so called “The Fools That Follow” which covers news from Marvel, DC Comics, video games, Star Wars of course, and really everything and anything geek.
What events does the Midwest Garrison have coming up?
The Pekin Marigold Fest (September 7&8)
There will be a Star Wars Academy, which will allow aspiring recruits and young padawans to equip blasters (Nerf guns) and test their mettle against troopers through an obstacle course. Donations are encouraged. Also, attending with the troopers are Daniel Logan who played young Boba Fett in Episode II and voiced the same character in
the Clone Wars animated series and Tom Kane who voiced Jedi Master Yoda. The actors will be on hand both Saturday and Sunday for autographs and there will be a Question and Answer panel as well.
The Morton Pumpkin Festival Parade (September 14)
Star Wars Reads Day (October 5)
Barnes and Noble 5001 N Big Hollow Rd, Peoria, IL 61615
Howl-Zoo-Ween (October 10, 11, & 12)
Peoria Zoo 2218 N Prospect Rd, Peoria, IL 61603
For more information on 501st Midwest Garrison events, please check their calendar at http://midwestgarrison.com/eventcal.php