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Hometown Hero: Caped Crusader Battles Bullying in the Ozarks

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- A man born in Joplin who wears a badge in Noel and a cape across the Ozarks is on a mission to battle bullying.

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- A man born in Joplin who wears a badge in Noel and a cape across the Ozarks is on a mission to battle bullying.

"One of the biggest things that kids do today is look for someone to save them," says John Epperson. "When they feel helpless like no one else can save them."

There when you need them the most, Batman went to the Boys and Girls Club of Springfield. He's out to seek revenge on bullying.

"Everybody has something about them that's unique. If someone bullies you, talk to a mom, dad, a teacher, big sister, brother -- let an adult know right away."

"I get bullied," says 2nd grader Alycia Scott. "I get bullied on the bus. It makes me feel sad."

Batman may be a fictional character, but to the little ones, he's every bit real.

"I thought what Batman said will make other kids want to stop bullying because they know it will hurt and I know because I've been bullied before and it doesn't feel good," says 2nd grader Annestacia.

Even the most powerful characters can be bullied. The man behind this mask was bullied as a child, too.

"That's a forever and ever thing," he says. "Often time, the psychological impact can be much stronger than any physical force a person could use. Words could hurt far more than any physical punch or kick."

Mr. Wayne is a police officer, a crisis hostage negotiator and a wrestler out of costume. But when he dons the mask, he's Batman going to schools, assemblies -- wherever kids are he gives his anti-bullying message.

"I believe the kids listen and they take to heart. Not all of them will. That's life. You save one kid or you make a difference."

Epperson's company "Super Heroes for Hire," has a Facebook page with contact information.

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