(LEX 18) — You’ve heard it said that not all heroes wear capes, but sometimes a cape-wearing hero is exactly what a community needs.
When homes need rebuilding and hope needs restored, who better to call than a superhero?
Seeing the distress of eastern Kentucky kids living through record flooding, the Red Cross reached out to John Buckland, also known as West Virginia Batman.
With a bat signal sounding, the Caped Crusader packed his Batmobile with supplies, headed to Hazard, and prepared to share a message of positivity.
Throughout his two days in Kentucky, Buckland delivered toys, organized games, and met some of the community’s own heroes.
In a video on Facebook, Buckland interacts with a group of teenagers volunteering to clean up flood victims’ homes.
From his Batmobile he asked, “Do you know these people?” When the kids shook their heads, explaining how they were simply helping those who needed it, he was impressed.
“The kids going through these circumstances, they’re the real heroes,” said Buckland.
He knows a hero when he sees one, but when you pull back the Batman mask, John Buckland hasn’t always felt worthy of the title.
“I went through really bad child abuse, of all kinds,” explained Buckland. “That spiraled me out of control because no one really got me any help. That hurled me into drug addition, depression, and suicide. One day I woke up and said it’s time to do something with this.”
For the last decade, he’s donned the cape, traveling to natural disaster sites, speaking at assemblies, and turning his adversity into hope for kids living through life’s hardest moments.
“If I can show up and inspire them, that ‘Hey, you too can do something amazing with this very painful thing that you’ve gone through,’ that’s what life is all about.”
Buckland has already visited Ukrainian refugees in Poland and he plans to visit the US/Mexico border next month. To learn more about his efforts or donate to his nonprofit, Heroes for Higher, you can find him on Facebook.