April of last year I was honored with a Certificate of Commendation by Colorado State Representative Paul Rosenthal for my contributions and work on the Official Star Trek Fan Club over the years. As many of you know, I founded the Official Star Trek Fan Club in 1980 and launched the Star Trek Communicator magazine shortly thereafter. I was awarded the Commendation at the Star Trek Legislative Caucus at the Colorado State Capitol—yes, you heard that right!—which was a stellar, bi-partisan success. This “Star Trek Caucus,” held at the historic Capitol building in downtown Denver, was a meeting of those who share an interest in the space industry and space exploration as well as those you have a passion for all things Trek. I shared the stage with representatives from Atmospheric & Space Technology Research Associates and the Space Foundation, who also received commendations.
Representative Rosenthal is a huge Star Trek fan and makes a point to share his interest in Gene Roddenberry’s creation with others that work in government and those of us in the public, too. He coordinated this Trek Caucus and invited all of us receiving commendations to speak to the group and share some of our thoughts and experiences on our areas of expertise and our interest in Star Trek. I am always eager to share my passion for Star Trek with others and have had some wonderful memories in the Star Trek universe since its early days – with Gene Roddenberry and the casts of the various series and films, but especially with the fans who have kept the flame burning for what is soon to be the show’s 50th anniversary next year.
As I was speaking to this group of legislators, government employees and those involved in the space industry it dawned on me once again the far reaching scope of Star Trek’s message and how it has affected so many people. It has inspired me to strive for something better. Many lives—and career choices—have been profoundly changed or positively affected as a result of Star Trek – those in multiple careers and daily life as well as politics, science, medicine, etc. I have met legions of fans who have remarkably uplifting stories of how Star Trek pulled them out of despair, gave them a new outlook and helped them choose their path. Through the various Star Trek adventures, we have been given a lesson on the best of humanity. I’ve had people, who are not enamored with Star Trek say to me, “C’mon, Dan, it’s just a TV show.” But that “TV show” literally changed my life. Star Trek spoke to me on a very personal level and said to me that I could be anything I wanted to be. It was the quality of my character and abilities that mattered and there was a positive future where those “qualities” would be accepted, encouraged and utilized.
As I sat there at the Colorado State Capitol and listened and shared my Star Trek stories with this group of legislators, scientists and Trek/space enthusiasts, it became even more apparent that Star Trek had become much more than “just a TV show.” It has inspired people from all walks of life to pursue their dreams and reach for the stars.
Dan Madsen is the former founder, president and publisher of the Official Star Trek Fan Club and Official Star Trek Communicator magazine. He is now publicist for actress Ashley Eckstein’s company, Her Universe, which produces fashionable, female-focused apparel for Sci-Fi fans.