Keystone Crusaders: More Than Meets the Eye

Originally posted:
Aired July 16, 2011 – 06:00   ET
T.J. HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning. Good morning, everybody. Nice shot there from WPVI this morning.
I want to take you to something else as we look to the song, “Help Somebody.” we are talking about superheroes this morning who are cleaning up the streets of Pennsylvania. They are doing this literally. Take a look here at the Keystone Crusaders. That is what they call themselves. They are dressed up, yes. You don’t know their identities, but these are not vigilantes, or out there fighting crime. No, of course, they don’t have super powers, but they are doing something that some will tell you is pretty super special.
These crusaders are here with me this morning. Let me bring in, Commonwealth, that is him on the left. That is Vigil, sitting in the back. She is not miked up. We won’t be hearing from here, but she still there in support. Then there is Armistice on the right.
Thank you all for being here. And Commonwealth, I will let you start this off. A lot of people are looking at the screen and thinking what in the world are they doing? First of all, tell me the whole idea. What is the point of the Crusaders?
COMMONWEALTH, KEYSTONE CRUSADERS: Well, the point of the Keystone Crusaders is pretty much to inspire goodness out of others by going around and doing good things, like picking up garbage and giving food and water to homeless. Random acts of kindness. Helping anybody out in any way they need it.
HOLMES: Armistice, helping people out? You talk about picking up garbage and handing out food and water. And doing these acts, but also this includes sometimes, maybe just dropping money into a parking meter of somebody whose parking meter has expired?
ARMISTICE, KEYSTONE CRUSADERS: Yes, of course. Commonwealth carries around a roll a big roll of quarters. If we can save someone a $15 ticket with a quarter, then that is a very good thing we can do. That could be rent money or their food money for that week.
HOLMES: Now, Commonwealth, you all could have done this by walking around the streets and doing it in plain clothes. What is with the superhero get up? Why go that route?
COMMONWEALTH: Well, you know, the superhero idea really comes about when a person sees a superhero, they see more than a person. They see an idea. They see something that may inspire them, that in the future, go out and do something good themselves. Not necessarily in a superhero costume, but just to be good people. Children see Spiderman and they know that is initially good. The idea of being a superhero is we can inspire goodness in others.
HOLMES: Now, Armistice, I have to say, and tell our viewers, you all take this quite seriously, at least the part about keeping your identity hidden. There is no way I can get you to lift up that mask this morning, is there?
COMMONWEALTH: It is not that we feel any real need to, it is more on principle. If you see someone that you don’t know who they are doing this, it could be anyone. If it could be anyone, there is no reason why it couldn’t be you.
HOLMES: What is the-Commonwealth-I guess, what is the idea here? It sounds like you are trying to inspire children with some of the get up and what they see. And you say, like Armistice just said. If you don’t know who it is, it could be anybody. That could be you. How far do you want to take this thing and keep it going?
COMMONWEALTH: You know, believe me, one day I would love to retire the helmet and cape. But as long as the city needs us; as long as the people feel like they need somebody out there to help them. That is how long we want to keep going. As I say, until our legs give out. This is something we feel our City of Harrisburg needs, and-just the people, itself, they need it. You can see it in their faces. Since from when we began to now, their attitudes have completely changed.
HOLMES: Armistice, it is important to note here, and people might be wondering, when do you do this? You all do have day jobs.
ARMISTICE: We do it whenever we find free time that we can put together. The Commonwealth is a retail manager. I work in retail. We always just have to organize our schedules together.
HOLMES: Are you recruiting?
ARMISTICE: Anyone who really wants to help out. Vigil, here, has only been out with us twice now. She is the latest person to join. There are some more people are getting ready. Anyone who wants to join us, why not? You do not need to be wearing a costume to be a good person, is that what you want to do?
HOLMES: And the last thing here to you, Commonwealth. You went through some struggles of your own. You are out helping the homeless now and doing what you can. You had struggles of your own. You probably wished a superhero would come along and help you out?
COMMONWEALTH: You know what I had my own personal superheroes; people in my life that just gave very generously without asking anything in return. They did not wear costumes, they were just genuinely good people. They are part of the inspiration for this. Their amount of generosity for no reason at all, they gained no benefit from helping me. You know, through their help, I was able to get out of what I was in, and find myself-you know, now I’m a superhero. I’m going out and paying it forward.
HOLMES: Guys, thank you so much for being here. This story got a lot of our attention. At first, when we see the outfits and people jump to a conclusion. But once you dig into it and hear the story and hear why you are doing it. It really is a cool thing you are doing. Maybe, really, it will inspire some folks whether they are in superhero costumes or not. Thank you all so much for taking the time. Keep doing what you are doing. We will see you down the road.
ARMISTICE: Thank you.
HOLMES: All right. We are getting up on the top of the hour here. I’m going to run and put on my superhero outfit. I’ll have that for you right after the break.