“There’s no fear; Underdog is here!!!”
Y’all remember Underdog? That shoe-shining beagle/basset hound mix with a penchant for rhymes who transformed himself into a superhero with the pop of a pill? And who could forget that loveable reporter Sweet Polly Purebred, whom was oft the recipient of Underdog’s “save-the-day” feats?
I know, it’s 2013 and we’ve got revamped takes on Superman and Batman on the big screen now. Heck, we’ve got Ben Affleck slated as the revamped Batman.
But did you know that Underdog was basically the Superman of the canine world? He flew cape and all during the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade from 1965-1984. He always saved the day.
I remember Underdog.
And during my life experiences I’ve crossed many a path with many an underdog—people who if only given a hand up would be, well, saved. From hardship, heart ache and despair.
It was Thanksgiving 2012, a day when most were watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade (and no Underdog was not in it) when I got the worst news of my life, or at least it seemed at the time. It seemed like my life was over. I knew I had to switch into survival mode because at the time there was no flying beagle/basset hound in route to save my day. Only I could do that and at first I had not one clue as to the how.
Then I remembered a quotation and it changed my life.
Mark Twain said, “The best way to cheer yourself up is to cheer somebody else up.” I immediate turned from the email bearing bad news and started building the basic elements of a web site dedicated to promoting local charities and community service organizations. And I kept telling myself that although this endeavor might not help me to feel better today that I was now making a positive change that would create a better and happier life in the days, weeks and years to come.
I was at the time becoming my own version of Underdog. I was trying to pave the way to somehow save the day. Not for myself and not for one delicious Sweet Polly Purebred, but for all the deserving Sweet Polly Purebreds.
At the time I had no idea that this was what I was doing. I was operating in adrenaline mode. I was just trying to deflect my pain by channeling it into something new. Succinctly put, I wanted to make a difference for others who felt despair so that I could feel different about the despair that had engulfed me and my life.
As with all things, the terrible events passed. I was also well on my way to doing something potentially great because I turned in dark moments to the silver lining.
While I do not personally don a red cape with a giant superhero marker sporting a letter across it, I have created a foundation that does just that. And like Superman and unlike Underdog (whose letter of choice was U) my super hero team sports the letter S as its moniker.
Superheroes of the Ozarks.
My essential purpose for Superheroes of the Ozarks is to match potential short term volunteers to community service organizations so as they gain experience they might be interested in eventually working in volunteerism on a more long-term basis. This is all fueled by my own long-time desire to do more community service work but I had no idea how to find organizations in my locality which were seeking help.
I’m currently compiling a Facebook page for the purposes of networking organizations with individuals. I’m offering to produce a free promotional video for any such local organization so they can get the word out about the work that they are doing.
This effort while based and commencing in the Ozarks is not precluded to the Ozarks. My desire and dream is that this will become a nationwide cause much as Pay It Forward has become one. Anyone and everyone can help.
All that is required is a heart and compassion for others.
This can be done on a nationwide level and local chapters in any area within the US can be established. We can all play a part. We can all be the champion of the underdog. More importantly we can all be in our own way BE Underdog. We can all in some way “save the day” for someone else–for someone who needs it far more than we do.
So be a part of it. Be a Superhero of the Ozark….or a Superhero of your local “Ozark-inspired” community. It is easy to do. You can participate through our digital listing of local organizations. Call or email them. Ask if they need help. Ask how to get connected with them. Or, participate by asking how you can establish a satellite Ozark community in your area.
Superheroes are everywhere! I hope that we see some real connectivity between volunteers and organizations in all communities because the more superheroes the better. One never can have or know enough. I hope you choose to become a superhero and to make an impact and difference in this world. For fact is, we are all in this together and we are all only as strong as our weakest link.