Gotham City will be without its famous Batman next month when he stops by Highland County for special appearances at the local libraries.
The Caped Crusader will appear throughout the county on Aug. 11. His stops will include: the Leesburg Branch Library, from 10:30 a.m. until 11:30 p.m.; the Greenfield Branch Library from noon until 1 p.m.; the Hillsboro Public Library from 1:45 p.m. until 2:45 p.m.; and the Lynchburg Branch Library from 3 p.m. until 4 p.m.
The event is hosted through Heroes 4 Higher (H4H), a West Virginia-based organization. According to a legislative citation from the House of Delegates of the West Virginia Legislature, H4H was first originated by John Mark Buckland in September 2012.
H4H’s mission is to inspire children and communities to “be the hero,” the citation states.
H4H has been recognized by numerous national outlets, including CNN, Good Morning America, The National Inquirer, Women’s World Magazine, and The Today Show, according to the citation.
The citation adds that “(Huntington) claims the idea was given to him by God waking him up at 2:30 a.m., telling him to be ‘Batman.’”
Buckland (or Batman) describes in event material that the inspiration for H4H came after he returned home from Iraq, where he had worked as a firefighter for the Department of Defense.
“Upon returning home, it seemed the news was saturated with stories of youth in crises,” he said. “I was determined to make a difference in all the troubles that our youth face in their lives.”
Buckland says that he faced many of the same issues confronting today’s youth and that through hero characters such as Batman, as well as therapy and support, he was able to overcome those obstacles and help others.
“I learned through Batman to turn my pain into personal empowerment and use that to help others overcome their own pain,” Buckland added.
Event material also states that over 300,000 have heard H4H’s message. And, next month, the people of Highland County will add to that number.
Highland County District Library Circulation Supervisor Lyn Tone said that she is “excited” about Batman’s upcoming visit.
“I think this is about the best program we could offer,” she said.
Buckland, she said, is both a community hero in his hometown and a veteran. “You couldn’t ask for more,” she added.
Tone also said that such a program helps show kids and the commuity as a whole that “heroes are in disguise and they can be any of us.”
Batman will come in his very own, fully street legal, Batmobile.
For more information, visit www.H4H.us, or visit the Highland County District Library Facebook page.
Sarah Allen is an assistant librarian at Highland County District Library.