Ethan Hobbs must have made a huge impression on the people at the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
The Thomson Elementary student and cancer survivor received his wish of becoming a real G.I. Joe last year in a week-long tour of three Georgia military bases.
Those in charge of the Georgia and Alabama chapter of the organization that grants wishes for children with life-threatening illnesses were so moved by Ethan's unique wish, they decided to make him the cover story of their semi-annual Wishes magazine.
"The majority of our wishes are to go to Disneyworld or they want a shopping spree or a computer, and Ethan's wish was so unusual because he wanted to be G.I. Joe," said Katherine Christenson, marketing and communications manager for the Georgia and Alabama Make-A-Wish Chapter.
"All wishes are special of course, but we try to highlight the more unique stories just so that everyone knows we don't just send kids to Disneyworld," she said.
The magazine is sent to wish families, individuals who have volunteered or donated to the organization and to companies who have worked with Make-A-Wish in the past. It has a circulation of about 30,000.
Ethan's picture is on the front hugging the waist of a soldier, and the article inside tells the story of his wish from diagnosis to the welcome home parade through Thomson. Ethan's father Mike, an officer with the McDuffie County Sheriff's Department, was honored that his son's story could be beneficial to the non-profit charity.
"It was cool. Anything we can do to help them is good because as much as they've done for us," Mr. Hobbs said. "I wish I had a million dollars to give them."
The magazine debuted in Atlanta on Nov. 22 at the organization's Stories of Light event. The Hobbs family attended and Ethan's mother Judy was a featured speaker. The Augusta area fundraising kickoff is scheduled for Dec. 6 at the Cotton Patch. Mrs. Hobbs will speak at that event as well.
At the event in Atlanta, the Hasbro toy company unveiled a one-of-a-kind toy soldier made in Ethan's likeness. Staff Sgt. William Estes, Ethan's friend and guide during his mini military career, presented the Captain Courage figurine to Ethan at the event.
The now six-year-old Honorary Lieutenant Ethan Hobbs is doing well, according to his father. And the Hobbs family's experience with Make-A-Wish left a lasting impression that will keep them connected to the organization for years to come.
"It's just the coolest bunch of folks you ever wanted to meet," Mr. Hobbs said.