OHIO VALLEY — Though they’re known for their assistance with the paranormal in the movies, in real life, the Ghostbusters raise money primarily for children’s charities.
There are “Ghostbusters’ chapters” all over the country, including West Virginia and Ohio. Last weekend, members of the West Virginia Ghostbusters Division attended the St. Patrick’s Day Cultural Festival in Gallipolis, Ohio where they talked about why their organization is much more than just dressing up in a costume – though that is a fun part of it.
Ghostbuster Keller Lindsay of Hurricane said the West Virginia Division has around 50 members, from not only West Virginia, but Southern Ohio, Eastern Kentucky and Western Virginia. He said the idea to “franchise” the Ghostbusters in each state is a comic turn on Bill Murray’s character in the original film, when he states “the franchise rights alone will make us rich beyond our wildest dreams.”
Keller explained: “We have franchises because everything Ghostbusters is supposed to be about making money and instead of keeping the money, it goes to charity.”
The West Virginia Ghostbusters Division raises funds for its Christmas toy drive that benefits the Children’s Home Society of West Virginia, which is the state’s largest child-service organization. Keller said every Black Friday, the Ghostbusters go out in uniform and shop for three straight days to gather toys for children at the home society.
Besides the outreach the group does, it also provides a camaraderie for its members.
“We’re a very close-knit group of people,” Keller said. “All of us obviously loved the movie, but we also have people from different generations.”
He explained some are fans of the Ghostbusters original cartoon and then the revamped version in the 1990’s. He said, member Nate Blaine of Point Pleasant was in the U.S. Navy.
“We don’t have like a set, cookie-cutter Ghostbuster…we all look a little different and we all personalize our stuff a little bit (differently), just like (the characters) in the cartoons and movies,” he said, adding members embrace the differences to pay homage to their fan favorites while still having a unique appearance as a Ghostbuster.
“It’s a good way to take a hobby that we all really love and turn it into something a little better than just a hobby.”
The West Virginia Ghostbusters Division will return to the area in September for the Mothman Festival in Point Pleasant and is also is available for parades, hospital visits, conventions and fundraisers. Find them on Facebook or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Reach Beth Sergent at email@example.com or on Twitter @BSergentWrites.