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Inspired by real-life superheroes

Jennifer's Journal

Some real-life stories inspire us. There are those, however, who prefer to take their inspiration from fantasy.

A recent story in the international news that seemed to particularly inspire folks was the one of a down-and-out homeless man who overcame his personal barriers to get his life back on track.

It was just last week that Ted Williams' life on the streets was changed forever. That's when a videographer taped the man displaying his booming radio voice along the Ohio off-ramp where he was panhandling. The videographer put the clip on the YouTube website where it went viral, receiving over six million hits in two days!

In the video, Williams explains that he attended school for broadcasting and once had a promising career as a radio announcer. Drugs and alcohol, however, derailed his dreams. This was over a decade ago but the man claims to have been sober for two years.

It has been a whirlwind for Williams since the YouTube video displaying his talent. There have been many opportunities for the golden-voiced sensation, including a sports announcer job for the Cleveland Cavaliers and an offer from Oprah Winfrey, who has just launched her own TV network. Williams has also appeared on the "Today Show" and recorded a voiceover for Kraft.

Another story in the news that grabbed my attention involved a group of young people who were obviously inspired by comic books and the recent movie, "Kick-Ass." This Seattle, Washington group, the Rain City Superheroes, are dressing up like comic book characters and fighting actual crime in the city. One of the men, "Phoenix Jones," as the man donned in black and gold is known by, has already been shot at and stabbed for his crime fighting efforts!

This group is not the only one taking their vigilante principles to the streets; you can find a number of crime-fighters and do-gooders on the online World Superhero Registry, including Vancouver's "Thanatos," who was profiled nationally in 2009.

What inspires these masked men and women? The "triumph of good over evil" and other phrases of this nature are common statements on the registry.

We may not always relate to the stories we hear, but we can all relate to the feelings they inspire in us - hope to live a better life, courage to change, and faith that we all deserve a second chance...or at least a second identity!

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