News: Superheroes unite around Fort Bragg
Story by Sgt. Amie McMillan
FORT BRAGG, N.C. - “Na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, BATMAN!” The song could be heard across the park, June 20, as four superheroes rode in on motorcycles to surprise a group of children during a unit organizational day at Pope Air Force Base.
The children’s eyes lit up, and huge smiles displayed on their faces the moment Batman, Batgirl, Wonder Woman, and Captain America swooped into the 525th Battlefield Surveillance Brigade (BFSB) unit organizational day. The superheroes made balloon animals, superhero mask replicas, colored pictures, and played games with the children.
Heroes for Kids, a program that started as a simple idea between a single Soldier and the Family Readiness Support Assistant (FRSA), June 5 blossomed with the help of 525th BFSB command support.
Spc. Michael Raymond, Headquarters and Headquarters Team, 1st Squadron, 38th Cavalry Regiment, 525th BFSB constructed the idea of having single Soldiers volunteer to dress up as superheroes as a fun way to get out of the barracks and bring smiles to the faces of children.
“I remember seeing a news story about window washers at children’s hospitals who dress up as superheroes and clean the windows. The reaction the kids have when they do that is what gave me the idea to do the same thing here,” said Raymond. “It also gives single Soldiers an opportunity to do something other than stay in their room all weekend.”
To some children, seeing a superhero in person is almost like a dream come true. As adults, we may not understand the hype, but the smiles on the children’s faces tell it all.
“It’s like the movie, Polar Express, when the bell is rung, only the kids can hear the bell and see the magic. As adults, we don’t see the magic in hanging out with superheroes, but they do,” said Jan Alderson, FRSA, 525th BFSB. “They get so excited.”
According to the mission statement on the program’s Facebook page, the purpose of this program is to give single Soldiers the opportunity to give back to the community in support of the Soldiers and families of their units.
“Seeing the children laugh and smile when we arrive is the best feeling in the world,” said Raymond. “On the other side, who doesn’t want to dress up as a superhero?”
“You can’t pay someone enough to do something like that from the heart,” said Monica Staats, FRSA, 525th BFSB. “Mike’s enthusiasm to do something special for the kids and to bridge the gap between single Soldiers and the FRG is great and will be the reason for the program’s success.”
Raymond recently arrived as Batman to a child’s birthday party in a Fort Bragg neighborhood. A neighbor saw him interacting with the children during the party and asked if he would mind coming over and playing with their children for a little while. “Batman” enjoyed hours of water splashing fun in the sun with the children and made their day.
“One thing a person can learn from this is that if you have an idea, don’t sit on your idea, roll with it,” said Jan.
The program is completely voluntary, and they do not charge for their services. However, donations are accepted in the form of additional costumes. The more costumes the program has, the more superheroes they can have to brighten a child’s day.
“In the end, it’s all about the kids,” he said.
Raymond, Jan and Monica hope this program continues to expand. Their next goal is to visit the Pediatric ward of Womack Army Medical Center, upon approval of course, and spread cheer to young patients.
If interested in requesting a superhero at your next event or to volunteer as a superhero, contact Spc. Michael Raymond on the program’s Facebook page or through their email address: