Like many towns in the United States, Glen Ellyn, Illinois holds a massive parade each year on the Fourth of July. One thing that makes their parade so unusual, however, is Jonathan Charbonneau, who has spent the past 26 years dressing up as Superman in the parade to bring joy to locals.
Jonathan does other things to help the community as well. He has a third-degree black belt in karate, and he uses it to act as a real life Superman in Glen Ellyn even when he’s not in costume. He once even managed to stop a wannabe thief who tried to steal a chair from an outdoor furniture sale.
Jonathan has spent decades helping others, so when the town recently learned that he needed their help, they took action.
Jonathan has been living in the same apartment for thirty years, so he was upset when the new owners of his building raised his rent from $455 per month to $800. As someone who has Asperger’s syndrome, sudden changes to his routine upset Jonathan very much. Julie Spiller, a close friend of his, wanted to reduce his anxiety by raising the $4,500 that would pay the difference in his rent for the year.
When the people of Glen Ellyn heard about this, they immediately stepped up, and Julie quickly far exceeded her initial goal when they helped her raise over $35,000! The leftover money is being used to create a financial safety net for Jonathan should he be unable to work or lose his insurance.
“Jonathan is very receptive to all of this,” Julie wrote. “In, fact I would say he has been ‘giddy’ with everything going on. He feels the love, he feels important, he feels worthy, and mostly, he feels protected like he does for us as Superman.”
Julie has received so many message of support for Jonathan that she is compiling them in a book that she can give to him.
“The financial support is shocking and a dream for Jonathan,” she added. “More important is all of the love he is feeling, and the personal notes you have shared in support. I will be printing each and every note and making them into a book for Jonathan to cherish.”
It warms my heart to see a community step up to help someone who has done so much for those around him for years!