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Thursday
Dec202018

It Was Turbo Time for the Kids of the Hollenbeck Youth Center!

In a long, ongoing tradition at the Hollenbeck Youth Center in Los Angeles, Arnold Schwarzenegger brought his celebrity friends to help him hand out toys to inner-city children. Decades ago, Arnold heard many parents of these kids couldn’t afford toys so Schwarzenegger stepped in to give back to others in need. I’ve known about this annual toy drive called "Miracle on First Street” for at least ten years but this was the first one I’ve ever attended. A few days ago, I realized I had a lot of toys around the house that I didn’t need and then I looked over at my Jingle All the Way cosplay outfit and thought, “Hey, I think the kids should be treated to these toys by TurboMan himself! I told Arnold’s staff and the organizers at Hollenbeck Youth Center and they thought TurboMan was a swell idea and nice addition to the “Miracle” event.

On Saturday, December 15th, I checked in at the desk and was given a V.I.P. pass and was told I was going to be in the parade. What parade? I never knew of any parade but I was totally down for it. Upon entering the main room, I was delighted to see so many great decorations and thousands of toys to be donated. I gave my big bag of toys to the event’s Santa Clause and then went upstairs to find a changing room. Here, I found the perfect room, the gym! No one was inside so I began to suit up. My TurboMan costume consists of roughly 16 individual pieces so it took me roughly thirty to forty minutes to attempt to get all of these parts on myself. As I turned around to leave the room, I noticed I was getting dressed in front of Arnold the whole time!  I stood now face-to-face with a huge gym mural of Schwarzenegger!


Priscilla Hernandez, the VP of the event, showed me around and brought me down to the parade which was about to start. Not only did I not know I’d be in the parade, but they wanted me to be in front!  Here I was, TurboMan leading the "Miracle on First Street” parade of roughly 40 or 50 awesome classic cars and  low-riders with amazing hydraulic effects following me. I waved to all the kids as I slowly lead the cars for several blocks. I was happy to hear a few “TurboMan” shout-outs but I probably heard more small kids shouting out “The Flash” and “Iron Man!”  But that’s okay, as long as the kids were happy and excited. When I reached the final destination, I saw Tom Arnold has emerged as the driver from one of the low-rider cars behind me.


Not long after the parade, I entered the Youth Center again and I was asked to stand up on the stage where Tom Arnold and Schwarzenegger would soon be standing to address the crowd. A few minutes later, Arnold entered the room to the “Jingle All the Way” song: “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year”.  On the stage, next to Tom and Arnold, stood Terminator 6 star Gabriel Luna, city council members, politicians, a chief of police and myself. I felt a little out-of-place among so many extinguished people and you can really imagine my surprise when after Priscilla Hernandez announced all the people on stage that she even gave me, TurboMan, a special thanks. But I went with it and after I improvised a shout of “It's Turbo Time” in my best Austrian accent, I looked over and thankfully saw that Arnold was laughing and enjoyed my delivery.

Watch my exclusive video from up on the stage to see Arnold’s and Tom Arnold’s speech. 

After Arnold’s speech up on the stage, we all walked down to the toys. Schwarzenegger was now ready to hand out these gifts to the very long line of eager children, The first gifts were the very best to reward the people who had actually spent the night in line. Bicycles and other very large toys were given out by Tom Arnold, Terminator 6 star Gabriele Luna and Arnold Schwarzenegger. During this time, I took pictures of the children’s big smiles as they received from Santa Arnold and I also did an interview for channel 5 news and took several photos for TurboMan fans and let them hold my boomerang. For the long line of kids, there was no end in sight but Arnold kept on handing out the gifts and gave hugs and high-fives.


In addition to entertaining kids and donating my gifts, my final goal was to attempt to get a picture of myself as TurboMan with Arnold. Wouldn’t that be something truly special, I thought. Well, not only did I get the picture, but Arnold liked my suit so much that he wanted to make a special video to share with the world on social media. Watch the video below and you’ll see why Im STILL as happy as a child receiving a wonderful Christmas present at The Hollenbeck Youth Center’s Miracle on First Street

Every year, the Hollenbeck Youth Center has been fortunate to provide thousands of kids and their families with holiday cheer and gifts during the holiday season. This year marked the 37th year of providing Christmas cheer to the families in the Los Angeles area and ANY child is welcome to come get a toy.

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