Being first means everything to Knight Owl, a Real Life Superhero working and living in the Vancouver, WA/Portland, OR area. Being first means answering a call when no one else can—or will. It means minimizing a victim’s trauma, with the safety of all concerned in mind. Being first, simply, means saving lives.
“I stumbled across the Superhero community by accident several years ago,” he explains. “I started to write a comic book with a friend, working by sending our stuff back and forth.” Once he reviewed all the material they had created, he did some reevaluation, thinking there had to be a more realistic way to portray their protagonist. “I thought, ‘Let’s throw out the whole Bruce Wayne-type of thing, and instead consider what would a college student with limited resources do?’ That’s when I found some early Superhero websites, and I made contact with some people.”
Putting his writing project on hold to take a job as a firefighter—a first responder—on a military-support contract in Iraq, he gradually resumed his interest in the movement. “When I started researching this stuff again, I looked at tactical websites and gear, and I grew worried that some of these guys were gonna get hurt. With what I knew about public safety, I thought I could be a resource, so in early 2008 I joined the Heroes Network.”
He next sought to create the first manual for Superheroes. “That’s like why I got into it in the first place,” he says, “there’s no definitive guide or rule book, so I figured I’d throw some comments out here, and see what happened.” What happened was a significant step forward for the community—and Knight Owl’s role within it. His site covered basic rescue and recovery techniques and considerations, conscious of the safety of the “first responder.” Travels overseas caused him to set the work aside for a time, but having recently returned to the Pacific Northwest, he’s ready to begin again. “I need to get back in there and get it back up to par. I want to restructure the website to incorporate more modern rescue techniques, with the added benefit of medical training I’ve had, and get these facts to all the Real Life Superheroes out there,” he continues.
Trained as an emergency medical technician (EMT), Knight Owl is currently working toward his certification as a paramedic. As his studies progress, he’s focusing his activities on “more humanitarian stuff, like patrols and handouts,” than the kind of action he saw in the Middle East (“This isn’t a job for an adrenaline junkie,” he notes). And while he’s “not big on organizational stuff,” he’s also taken on further responsibilities as an administrator on RealLifeSuperheroes.org. “I try and be as humble as I can and not overplay my role in the community,” he reminds, probably more for himself than anyone else.
“I’m back home trying to pick up where I left off, to get more training at my krav maga studio, hitting the ground running full speed ahead,” he states. “We are not role-players and this is not pretend. My mission is basically what falls in line with firefighting and EMT—you do the best you can to alleviate pain and suffering, and maybe even, save someone’s life.” That’s the kind of “first” that truly means everything.
Join Knight Owl in his support of Heifer International at: