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Superheroes help raise money for sick teacher | News

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Superheroes help raise money for sick teacher

GULFPORT, Florida -- It attracts a lot of attention, photos, and praise at the Gulfport Art Walk. After all, it may come as a shock to see superheroes casually strolling down the street.

"It's really really loud inside of a helmet," Zac Hurst mutters from inside his Iron Man suit.

When Hurst - or Iron Man -  isn't fighting for justice, he's actually a property manager in Clearwater who builds superhero suits as a hobby.

"When we saw something on screen as a kid, it was really there. It wasn't made out of computers," Hurst says. "Someplace, somewhere in a warehouse, collecting dust, was one of the machines that you got to see in a movie like Terminator or Ghostbusters or Star Wars."

That fueled Hurst's passion for crafting fantasy into reality out of some unexpected materials.

"I used floor mats," he says. "The stuff they use on gymnasium floors."

It took him just a month and about $100 to transform his son into War Machine.

"My favorite part is the gun, definitely, because he shoots down robots with that and it's awesome," Zac's 10-year-old son, Alfred, says.

But they're not in Gulfport to shoot down robots. They're here for a third grade teacher from Gulfport Elementary.

"A teacher sadly has cancer and we're trying to raise money for her and the way it's looking, I think it's going to be a success," Alfred says.

Photo Gallery: Superheroes help raise money for sick teacher

Doctors recently diagnosed Beth Myers with a type of cancer that affects plasma cells in her bone marrow. Her insurance covers treatment, but she has to travel to Arkansas for 10 days a month in order for treatments to be administered.

"We're raising money for her so that she can afford the plane ticket to go get treatment," Zac tells a passerby at the Art Walk.

So Zac and Alfred, dressed as superheroes, attract people to the art booth where some of Myers' students help raise money for their teacher.

"Would you like to buy some art?" student Cassandra Rodriguez asks as people pass by her.

The students have painted each brush stroke with Myers in mind, so they can help the woman who has helped them.

"She helped me to learn and get better at spelling," Rodriguez says.

It's teaching those students lessons as well.

"We had 'community' as a vocabulary word in class," says Gulfport Elementary teacher Karen Hinz. "As I was explaining what community is, one of my students said, 'Is that like what we're doing for Ms. Myers to raise the money?' And I said, 'That's exactly what community is.'"

A community that's getting help from some superheroes.


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