Hundreds of people were able to meet both real-life and fictional superheroes at an event Sunday.
CHI Health-St. Francis hosted the second-annual Superhero Sunday at the practice field at Grand Island Senior High. Debb Niles, an emergency room nurse who served as the team lead for the event, said some of its activities included a teddy bear clinic, face painting, large hamster balls, a balloon artist, car seat checks and bicycle helmet fittings.
The Nebraska State Patrol, Grand Island Police Department, Grand Island Fire Department and Nebraska National Guard also attended Superhero Sunday. CHI Health-Good Samaritan’s AirCare helicopter landed on the practice field carrying Wonder Woman, Spider-Man and Thor.
Niles said the mission of CHI Health-St. Francis is to give back to communities and promote health and safety. She said the Superhero Sunday event was a way to accomplish this while providing families with free activities.
“They get to meet local superheroes with the fire department and the police department in a controlled environment,” Niles said. “All of these people are everyday superheroes. It is a great way to celebrate them and have traditional superheroes like Thor, Batman, Batgirl, Wonder Woman and Spider-Man. The Incredibles family is here, too. It is just a nice mix of traditional and everyday superheroes. I hope kids will walk away from this with really good memories.”
Chris Goplin, a respiratory therapy supervisor at CHI Health-St. Francis dressed up as Thor at Superhero Sunday. This is the first year he and his fellow employees dressed up as superheroes for the Superhero Sunday event. He said that after seeing the event last year, the employees thought dressing up as fictional superheroes would be a good way to enhance the event this year.
“What is better than seeing kids dressed like Spider-Man and Batman?” Goplin said. “ It shows that they have a true love for superhero movies and the people we are all dressed up as. It is an honor to be thought of as superheroes. It is excellent to see everybody come out.”
Goplin said the best part of Superhero Sunday was seeing the looks on the kids’ faces as they saw him dressed as Thor and came to take pictures with him.
Beth Deida, a labor and delivery nurse at CHI Health-St. Francis, dressed up as The Incredibles family along with her husband and three kids.
“It is great for the kids in the community. The excitement here is just awesome,” she said. “We have had several little ones dressed as The Incredibles, too. So it was fun to get a picture with them. It has been fun to give back, see all the excitement on everyone’s faces and see everyone be thankful for this free community event.”
Ed Carlin, shift commander with the Grand Island Fire Department, said a firetruck and ambulance escorted The Incredibles to Superhero Sunday. At the event, he said GIFD gave tours of its firetruck and ambulance. It also had a face board where kids could stick their heads in a hole of firefighter figurines to take pictures in.
“The kids really enjoying the firetruck and they like getting in the ambulance,” Carlin said. “ We like to expose them to the different vehicles so that if they ever have to use it, they are not so scared or apprehensive when we arrive.”
Carlin said while Superhero Sunday honored the real-life superheroes of GIFD, he said he and the rest of the department feels they are just doing their jobs.
“We just like being able to help people and being able to respond in their time of need,” he said.
Deida echoed Carlin’s comments, saying the real-life superheroes at CHI Health-St. Francis feel they are “just going to work and doing God’s work.”
“I love for everybody to see just what CHI Health-St. Francis does for our community and how we are superheroes without capes,” she said.