Damon Cole is a full-time police officer with the Fort Worth Police Department (TX), but he is no ordinary cop. He is a superhero.
Over the last few years, Officer Cole has dressed up as various superhero characters to visit children who are hospitalized fighting cancer and other terminal diseases.
Officer Cole started his law enforcement career in the Lone Star State in 1999. He realized early in his career he had the unique opportunity to make a big impact on children he came across while carrying out his duties as a police officer. “Every child should know that a police officer is always there to help them through anything. The best way to get that message across is to build up a trusting relationship with them”, says Cole. And so, he had the Superman logo sewed on to his ballistic vest under his uniform. He would quietly kneel next to children on calls for service and unbutton his uniform shirt showing the Superman logo and make them promise not to reveal his true identity. Kids went crazy over it.
Several years passed and Officer Cole had started dressing up as Superman for local community events and visiting local hospitals. His life would change forever in April 2015 when he met Bryce Schottel, a 7-year-old who was battling cancer:
“Bryce lives in Smithton, Illinois, and he is a very big Superman fan. As soon as I learned all this, I just knew I had to make the trip up there to see him. I used three vacation days from work and I hopped in my Superman Charger and I made the 11-hour drive to see him. I went to his elementary school first… then I went to Bryce’s house. Bryce was smiling ear to ear. I left his house and went to a fundraiser that the local police department was putting on for Bryce and his family. I spent several hours there until I left to head back to Fort Worth, Texas. It was such a great experience to see how happy I had made him and his family and that is when I knew that I had found my calling.”
Since then, Officer Cole has driven through several states in his 2012 custom Dodge Charger, which has over 100,000 miles on it now. His goal is to visit children in all 50 states, as well as Canada. Originally dressing only as Superman, Cole has added a list of other superheroes in which he now appears: Iron Man, Batman, Spiderman, and Captain America to name a few. He has started a website called Heroes & Cops Against Childhood Cancer which is growing momentum on social media with 38,000 followers on Facebook and another 200 on Twitter.
But the custom car and the superhero costumes were all paid by Cole himself on a humble policeman’s salary. He often has to use vacation or personal leave time from work in order to make some of these special appearances for children. As a result, Cole has created a GoFundMe account for people to donate which will help offset some of the costs of his mission.
In an age when mainstream media would rather focus on everything police officers do wrong, Officer Cole is quietly doing everything right. He personifies what policing is meant to stand for by identifying a public need and finding a creative way to serve others in meeting that need. In this case, it just so happens that the need is among the brave little boys and girls, who often go forgotten except by their family and loved ones, while they fight for their lives proving they are the real superheroes.
“I will tell you a secret about police officers that everyone seems to forget”, says Officer Cole… “We are no different than anyone else.”