Jack previously led the Northeast Florida branch of Costumers with a Cause for 5 years of faithful service, navigating significant challenges, including the COVID-19 pandemic. Jack is now an Administrator and Event Leader in the branch, as well as a CWC National Board Member. Jack has been a great asset to Costumers With A Cause from the first time he attended an event with the organization, often traveling from Jacksonville to attend and lead events in Central, South, and Northwest Florida. Jack has a kind and giving heart, and he keeps the focus on why we are here and why we do what we do… for the kids!
How did you first get involved with Costumers with A Cause and what has been your favorite or most memorable event so far and what made it memorable?
I found out about CWC when I was looking for a cosplay group that did charity functions and hospital visits. I had seen features on the news and through social media for different organizations, so I did a search through Facebook. Once I found it, I immediately requested membership. My most memorable event was with the Central Florida division. It was Nathaniel’s Hope “Make ‘Em Smile” event in Orlando in June. So many Florida organizations came together to make this such a special day for so many. We had a really great variety of characters there, and the kids were SO HAPPY to see all of us. I received a lot of hugs and photo requests that day. Many parents told me that I was their child’s favorite hero. It was just so fulfilling to know that I brought hope and happiness to so many by just being there to give an encouraging word or be in a picture with them.
Our members put on many faces in Costumers with A Cause, what is your favorite character you represent and what is it that you like about that character?
My favorite character that I represent is Green Arrow. Once I’m all “suited up” I do actually look quite a bit like him. Growing up, I never actually resembled any superhero. I like that character because he doesn’t rely on any super powers or abilities to be a hero…. just his fighting skills, intellect and his bow and arrow. In the show, Oliver Queen has said that when he protects the city as the Green Arrow, he is putting forth the “best version of himself”. I can relate a lot to that feeling. When I put the costume on and can inspire a youngster, or even an adult just a little bit, I feel I am being the best version of myself.
Based on your experiences with us, how would you describe what we do to someone who knows absolutely nothing about us or who we are?
I do get this question frequently. My response is usually something like this: “We appear at various charity and social events to provide inspiration and encouragement to the children and adults who attend these functions We visit sick children in the hospital frequently, throughout all of our different branches across the U.S. We also fund-raise for various charitable organizations at movie premieres, comic book conventions, and any other place that will allow us to do so.
What do you feel your best assets, talents, gifts, etc, are, and how did you acquire them?
I am a very compassionate person. I always try to put other people’s needs before my own. I am a good listener and a good problem-solver. I am a hard worker and don’t like leaving things unfinished. I attribute this to being raised by two very loving, hardworking, compassionate, and generous parents. I also am a believer that all situations, events or tragedies teach us something. We just must be willing to learn and make changes when necessary. I will always do that little bit extra if it is needed to get the job done or help someone.
It seems that lately we are hearing about more and more children who are being bullied or who have self esteem issues, body issues, etc. If a child came to you with any one of the many issues you are aware of, what advice would you give them?
I grew up being bullied myself, though, back then, we didn’t have all the different “tools”, such as social media, like there is today. I guess the first thing I would say to him/her would be to let him know that I, too, was bullied and that it doesn’t feel good. Then I would say to them “tell me something that you really enjoy doing, or something that you’re good at.” I would encourage them to excel in that task or hobby. Find other people who enjoy those things and try to be friends with those people. It’s harder for a someone to bully you when you’re with your friends or in a group of people. I would also let them know that most bullies do what they do because they don’t have any other things that bring them joy, and unfortunately it is their way of feeling good about themselves. I would then tell him/her to be a good person, and always offer help and encouragement whenever possible. Also, don’t ever be afraid to tell an adult what is going on. This could be a counselor, a teacher, or your parent. Asking for help in a situation that is bad for you doesn’t make you weak, it makes you smart.
Imagine: You are a superhero on a deserted Island. There is absolutely no way off this island. You are alone with the exception of a magic genie 🙂 who wants to grant you three wishes, though getting off the island isn’t one of them. What would your three wishes be and why?
Well, I think this is a bit of trick question. If I couldn’t wish to be “off the island” I would wish for 1). A covered motor boat. 2.) An endless supply of fuel. 3.) An endless supply of food until I reached civilization again. If these wishes weren’t allowed and my destiny was to be trapped on this island, I would wish for 1.) An endless supply of food. 2.) Shelter that couldn’t be destroyed or damaged. 3.) My pets Piper and Gryffin, with extended lifetimes, to keep me company until the end of my days. The fact that I’m a superhero really wouldn’t matter if it was a deserted island. (<- Good point!)
Many of our members tell us stories of special situations or circumstances in their own personal lives which causes them to have a special place in their heart for charity organizations. Is there any charity or organization that holds a special place in your heart?
Both Make a Wish Foundation and Give Kids the World. These organizations really put the child’s needs and wishes first and foremost. I know that must be invaluable to them and their families when they are dealing with so many overwhelming circumstances.
Secret Time: What is one thing about you that you think would surprise someone who thinks they know you pretty well?
There was a short period of time when I really wanted to be one of Madonna’s dancers in the early 90’s (Shhhh…..it’s a secret!!)
Who is someone you really admire? They can be real or fictional. Alive or passed on. What is it about them that you admire and why?
Stephen Amell. He is the actor who plays the Green Arrow. I admire him for many things. He is very committed to his role as the Green Arrow. He had taken a character, who wasn’t as popular or “well known’ and put him on the same level as Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman. He takes the role seriously by not only knowing his lines, and his character, but also by keeping himself in prime physical shape to make his portrayal believable. He sticks to a strict diet and workout plan, and is a true archer. Above all, he is loyal to his fans and also very personable. I met him in Atlanta last year, and although I didn’t speak with him for more that a couple of minutes, I felt like I could have stood there for several more. He thanked me for coming to the event, asked where I was from and even advised me on the best bow to use if I was going to learn archery. I saw his interaction with other fans before me, and it was the same. He uses his celebrity status to speak out on current events and the issues of today but is very professional and diplomatic with his views and presentation. He is just a great person and human being. (Fun Fact: We have reached out to Stephen a few times requesting he come out to our events. He actually has one of our CwC shirts 🙂 )