Want to be a superhero in your community?

By Michael M. DeWitt, Jr.
I admit it. I wear Spiderman underwear. I still have a crush on Wonder Woman. And I have a Superman tattoo located somewhere on my body (you’ll have to use your X-ray vision to find out exactly where, though).
Most people become infatuated with superheroes early in life. At first, it’s the child in us that thinks that awesome, superhuman powers are just plain cool. Later, as we age and our bodies fall apart, superheroism is more about staying strong and young and powerful, about defying our own mortality.
But we often forget the most important element of heroism – helping others. And while we may never be able to fly or teleport or use our X-ray vision to see through walls, we can all be superheroes in our own communities just by helping others.
At least that is the credo of a bold new group that known as Superheroes Anonymous. With names like The Dark Guardian and The Watchman, these guys – and gals, too – actually create and wear their own costumes and venture out into their own neighborhoods looking to make their communities a batter, safer place to live (go to superheroesanonymous.com to learn more, including tips on making your own costume). They patrol the streets of their hometowns, helping strangers and protecting the weak and the innocent.
Immature, or genius? Just ask the people they help.
Superheroes Anonymous members distribute sandwiches to the homeless, volunteer at charitable organizations, distribute clean water, and patrol the streets looking for criminal activity to report, and much, much more. The movement began in New York City and is now spreading rapidly to superhero fans worldwide.
If this zany plan could work in New York’s metropolis, why not Hampton County? Could we make our own hometown a better, safer place to live?
My superhero senses tell me “Yes, we can.” And while you don’t have to don tights or a red cape or any other goofy costume (people will look at you funny in the Piggly Wiggly), and none of us can leap tall buildings in a single bound, I believe that we can all become superheroes and make a difference in our own communities if we only try.
Yes, the people of Hampton County are faced with legions of deadly villains. Crime, drugs, gangs, violence, to name a few. We are also faced with evils less fearsome but no less dangerous – indifference, intolerance, and ignorance.
But each of us also possesses our own unique, special power. The power to do good or help our neighbor in some way, whether it be the power to reach out to a child, or to take food to the needy, or to courageously report a crime.
We have the “super” powers to clean up our streets, to volunteer as mentors and help educate our young people, the power to form Neighborhood Watch groups, and the power to get involved in our educational and political processes.
We have the power to spend a few minutes each week mentoring to a young person, and we have the power to reach out to the sick and elderly.
The world is changing, and the forces of evil grow stronger each day. It’s time for real life community heroes to reveal their identities.
Want to be a superhero? Take action.
Tights and cape are optional.
Do you know a community hero?
If you know someone whom you feel is a community hero, we want to hear from you. Call The Guardian at 943-4645 or email michael.dewitt@hamptoncountyguardian.com.