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Caped Crusader makes boy’s day; 4-year-old named honorary officer

May 29, 2014

Benton Mayor David Mattingly, Batman (also known as Detective Dustin Hamm), Harper Marsh and Police Chief Kirk Lane pose for a picture following a ceremony in which Harper was named an honorary officer. SARAH PERRY/The Saline Courier

Every child has a favorite super hero. For 4-year old Harper Marsh of Benton, that hero is Batman.

With the help of the Benton Police Department, Harper was able to meet Batman — also known as Detective Dustin Hamm.

Harper has been diagnosed with leukemia and has been receiving treatment since November.

Recently, his mother, Krystal Marsh, asked Lt. Kevin Russell of the Benton Police Department about the possibility of Harper's celebrating his fourth birthday with Batman; and for a couple of hours on Tuesday, Harper was allowed to portray Batman's sidekick Robin at police headquarters.

Harper's family, along with Benton Police Chief Kirk Lane and Benton Mayor David Mattingly, looked on as Harper, with his back turned, somewhat anxiously sat in Batman's lap. They talked about the Bat Cave and Batman's vehicles.

Eventually, Harper's mother was able to convince her son to put on his Robin cape. After Harper was dressed for the part, Batman read a certificate naming Harper an honorary officer of the Benton Police Department. The youngster was given a badge sticker and a flashlight.
But a sidekick also must be certified, so Batman had to race Harper down the hall to make sure he would be a good match.

With a huge grin on his face, Harper was able to pull ahead of his hero. Since he had proven he was worthy, Harper got an inside view of the Benton Police Department's new armed vehicle and a patrol vehicle. He tested the siren and the lights.

One of the Benton Fire Department's trucks even stopped by for Harper to try it out. Then he was able to take a tour of the fire department.
Before leaving for the fire station, Batman told Harper he would have to keep fighting the goblins when Batman was not around. Harper nodded his head affirmatively.

"Harper's visit to the station today was the highlight of the day for a lot of us, and it was definitely mine," Russell said.

Harper has a 97 percent chance of survival, but will have to undergo three years of chemotherapy, his mother said.

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