Caped crusaders at large in the community
By Elise Brassell; photos courtesy of The OathKeepers
What do Chester Cheetah, Mr. Peanut and a high school mascot all have in common? Vinessa Olp, founder of The OathKeepers has portrayed them all.
The OathKeepers is an all-volunteer, costuming for charity organization. Costumers for charity don costumes of well-known characters from movies, comics and other stories in the name of making people smile and helping to support charitable causes in the local community.
Olp, who has dressed as various characters from the Star Wars movies for 12 years, founded the costuming organization in memory of her son, Nerov, who passed away in 2016. “I wanted to do this for him, to show him that you can take something you love and turn it into something amazing for somebody else,” Olp said.
The OathKeepers includes 32 volunteers, many of whom dress in costumes of characters from popular shows including Star Wars, Power Rangers and Guardians of the Galaxy. The group has supported a variety of charitable events in Colorado, appearing in costume to cheer on participants at events such as Back the Blue in Castle Rock, Destination Imagination and Relay for Life.
The costumed characters bring joy not only to those whom they greet in the community, but also to the volunteers in costume, whose experience also leads to a deeper connection to the community.
“When kids hurt, there’s nothing you can do to help a hurt sometimes. If I can help a parent make that kid smile, if I can give them one good day, I did something of value and service,” Olp said.
Daniel Locke (also known as the Blue Ranger from the popular Power Rangers series), joined The OathKeepers when it first began. “When I first started, I had dressed as the Blue Ranger to go to Comic Con and to make my inner 12 year old happy, but I realized that I wanted to do this to make kids and other people happy, too.”
Next for The OathKeepers is creating costumes for Captain America and also USO Girls, to welcome home veterans from honor flights. Volunteers often put their heart and soul into creating costumes, sometimes taking a year to create costumes that are as screen-accurate as possible.
“Who knows who you are going to inspire. That’s what we work for,” Locke said.
The OathKeepers are looking for more volunteers to join the team. Visit theOathKeepers.com to find the location of their next meet-and-greet informational meeting or to learn more about volunteering to keep your own oath.
We invite readers to send suggestions for nonprofit organizations to feature. Email firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to learning more and sharing information about nonprofits in our community throughout the year.