In recent films, Batman said, “A hero can be anyone,” and “It’s what I do that defines me.”
Miles Blackman, a lead transportation security officer from New Mexico’s Albuquerque International Sunport (ABQ), dresses that part perfectly, serving as a super hero to kids with cancer.
Inspired by friends from the national group, Hero Alliance, Blackman founded the Justice League of America’s New Mexico chapter in 2011 and spends many of his hours away from TSA being a friend to young cancer victims, visiting them in the hospital, dressed as the Caped Crusader.
“I thought Albuquerque needed a group to dress up as super heroes, and I thought it would be cool to visit kids in the hospital,” said Blackman.
Members of the New Mexico Justice League not only visit hospitals but also work with organizations such as the Children’s Miracle Network, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, the New Mexico Autism Society and Wounded Warriors. On average, they make 20 to 25 appearances each year.
Just like Batman, tragedy in Blackman’s childhood led him to don the Batman cape and mask. “I had a close friend who had cancer when I was younger,” Blackman recalled, “and I stayed with him in the hospital while he was going through chemo. I remember that feeling of wanting to help.”
When asked about his choice of super hero characters, without hesitation, Blackman said, “I’ve always liked Bruce Wayne/Batman. Adam West, who portrayed Batman in 1966, and I share the same birthday. It just seemed like the perfect choice.”
That perfect choice brings with it the most rewarding experience for Blackman, who describes the kids’ reaction to seeing Batman and other characters as “surreal.”
“They are in awe and almost can’t believe it,” said Blackman. “For those precious moments, their illnesses are secondary.”
He admits it never gets easy seeing small children in serious situations, but he has to keep his emotions in check. “What they are going through is tough,” he noted. “I’m not doing this for any type of recognition, but because it is so meaningful in so many ways.”
When not dressed as the Caped Crusader, Blackman proudly wears his TSA uniform with integrity, innovation and team spirit. His enthusiasm and care for life has touched everyone at TSA ABQ.
“Miles is a valuable member of the ABQ team,” said Federal Security Director Jessie Sanchez. “We are super proud of his work with the community. Miles is one of the most considerate and compassionate people I know.”