The besieged firefighters of the western United States have a new force on their side: Baby Yoda.
A 5-year-old boy from Oregon and his grandmother delivered a toy version of the pointy-eared Force User to a firefighter donation center on September 12 with a note that read, “Here’s a friend. for you in case you got lonely. Since then, Baby Yoda has witnessed four wildfires in two states, climbed into helicopters, checked people’s temperatures for symptoms of COVID-19 and even used “the Force” to move a control tool. fires known as pulaski.
A Facebook page titled “Baby Yoda Fighting Fires” documented his journey and spread joy far beyond the lines of fire. More than 30,000 people follow the page as it moves from crew to crew.
“It’s a miracle how a small gesture can create a wave of cuteness,” said Sasha Tinning, the 54-year-old Scappoose, Oregon woman, who spotted Baby Yoda while shopping for items to give to firefighters with her. grandson, Carver.
“I turn around and this baby Yoda is just looking at me and he was a really cute little guy,” Tinning said. “I said, ‘Hey, that looks good, maybe we should get this to the fire department.'”
That’s when Carver stepped in. “He said they could have a friend, and I thought everyone needed a friend, especially now,” Tinning said. She wrote a note with the sentiment to the fire department and got Carver signed.
The note remains with Baby Yoda today, pinned in a plastic bag on his back, with the phone number of Tyler Eubanks, the 31-year-old Scappoose horse dentist who organizes firefighters’ donations, gave them Baby Yoda and now runs the Facebook page.
As the firefighters snap photos of Baby Yoda’s adventures, they text her so she can post them on the page, much to her fans’ delight.
“I check for updates several times in a typical day,” wrote Jacki Wittman of Columbia City, Oregon, in a recent article.
Diane Arzente, another fan of the Facebook page, wrote: “Baby Yoda and a little boy are spreading so much love and happiness everywhere…
Eubanks cannot believe the answer.
“I really had no idea it was literally going to take off like wildfire,” she said, adding that she believed our troubled times had helped fuel Baby Yoda’s popularity. “They have fun and take the stress out of a very dark situation.”
Wildfires in the western United States have burned millions of acres, destroyed thousands of homes, and killed dozens, including firefighters.
Add that stress to the grueling work of firefighters, who crawl through the backcountry, dig lines of fire, work 16 hours a day, while away from their families for weeks on end.
For them, Baby Yoda is more than just a point of light.
He was “in high spirits,” said Staff Sgt. Jaebyn Drake, an Oregon Air National Guard firefighter who added an American flag bandana to Baby Yoda’s forehead to complete her look.
“A lot of my crew, I showed them the note and everything and they loved it,” said Drake, 28. “A few people broke down in tears… It really meant a lot to us and it was really emotional for a lot of people.
Drake said it was very special for him as a longtime ‘Star Wars’ fan who also enjoys the ‘The Mandalorian’ TV show on Disney +, where Baby Yoda debuted last year and quickly became a sensation on the Internet.
TJ Ramos, an aerial tactical group supervisor with the Oregon Department of Forestry, posed for selfies in his helicopter and took Baby Yoda on a flight over Holiday Farm Fire in Oregon on September 21.
He recalls when he was able to tell the fire helibase crews that Baby Yoda had arrived. At that time, he was a minor celebrity among all the fire crews.
“You could instantly see everyone straightening up a bit, smiles came over some straight faces and it was a different day,” said Ramos, 34. “There was a lot of” Oh my kid was telling me about Baby Yoda, can I have a selfie with him? I think it not only added a bit of morale and just a lift for everyone, I think it almost added a connection to home life.
Baby Yoda is now in so much demand after his tours in Oregon and Colorado that fire crews in California, Washington and Canada have all asked for him to join them.
“I hope we can continue,” said Drake. “It’s the Smokey the Bear of the 21st century.”