Sometimes, wishes do come true

Friday, April 1, 2022
Group picture from CLE

It is not often you can help someone realize a dream, but that is what TSA Cleveland, the Cleveland Police, United Airlines and A Special Wish Foundation did for Josie – A Special Wish child.

Placido with Star Wars characters
CLE Supervisory TSA Officer Devon Placido with members of the Force. (Photo by Louis Rodriguez)

Josie’s wish was to go to the new Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser resort in Walt Disney World near Orlando, Florida, and she did so in style.

When Josie and her family arrived at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport (CLE) they were greeted by none other than the dark side leader Sith Lord, Darth Vader and knight Kylo Ren. Following master Yoda’s instructions, a Jedi Knight and Chewbacca from the Resistance helped balance the Force.

The members of the Force greeted Josie and her family at the airport, accompanied them to the TSA checkpoint and on to their departure gate.

Special Wish Foundation members
(Left) A Special Wish Foundation Northern Ohio Chapter Coordinator Jason Beudert, Star Wars characters, Northeast Ohio Chapter Assistant Coordinator Emily Pitera and Supervisory TSA Officer Louis Rodriguez. (Photo by Sam Hemoud)

Once the Star Wars flight departed into hyperspace, the foundation members returned to the checkpoint to thank TSA Team CLE for their professionalism and kindness.

The team began reflecting on the good feelings and the camaraderie they shared as they put the needs of others first.

“We’re all one team at Cleveland Hopkins International,” said Lt. Lou Pipoly of the Cleveland Police. “Today showed just that.”

CLE Supervisory TSA Officer Louis Rodriguez expressed his feelings saying, “It was an honor to be part of something so special.”

“Yoda taught us to ‘build relationships with everything,’” said CLE Deputy Assistant Federal Security Director (AFSD) Steven P. Hogan.  “Our CLE team are true public servants.”

CLE AFSD Scott Lorenzo summed it up nicely, “Our CLE Team had the Force behind them as they helped A Special Wish come true for young Josie.”

Editor’s Note: Starting in 1982, A Special Wish Foundation was one of the first wish-granting organizations in the United States, dedicated to granting the wishes of children under the age of 21 who have been diagnosed with a life-threatening disorder.

By Wayne Carey, Strategic communications & Public Affairs