Column: Here’s to our local superheroes

By Stephen Dafoe

Superman’s 75th birthday came and went last Thursday. Three quarters of a century have passed since Action Comics No. 1 was published, a funny book that brought the world one of its most iconic characters.

Unlike Batman who has gone from a campy and cartoonish 1960s character to the grim, gritty and growly centrepiece of three successful summer blockbusters, Superman has struggled to remain relevant in a world that increasingly sees hope as weakness and which views all acts of goodness as something to be suspicious of.

Although I’m as big a fan of Batman as the next geek, Superman is the character I’ve always loved because he stood for hope, the one thing we seem to be more in need of than anything else today.

Though he could take on super villains and giant space monsters with minimal effort, the character always worked best for me when he was rescuing a cat from a tree or tying up common bank robbers with a parking meter pole.

What struck me most was why he did it. There was no reason for him to fight space robots, criminal masterminds, or even purse-snatchers on the run. There was no reason to take even a moment’s notice of a cat stuck in a tree. His super powers were used for a greater purpose with no expectation of remuneration beyond the satisfaction of doing the right thing, the respect of the public for having done so, and the occasional key to the city he had just saved from aforementioned giant space aliens.

And so it is with the superheroes in our community, the men and women who have no reason to give up their time and talents (their super powers if you will) to keep an organization running, or to make sure youth have leadership and mentorship in sports and the arts, or to ensure the needy are clothed, fed, and provided for.

Yet they do.

Whether it is the senior sitting for an hour or two at a folding table taking entry fees for a charity event, or the parent taking a group of Sparks around town selling cookies, each volunteer is worthy of our thanks every day, particularly this week.

Because they use their powers for a greater good than themselves, our community, its organizations, and its citizens move forward with hope.

Unlike the comic book superheroes, our volunteers don’t wear their underwear on the outside of their pants, but each and every one of them is worthy of wearing a big fluttering red cape every bit as majestic as Superman’s.

We thank them this week for all they do for all of us.

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