Six Treasure Coast Residents Inspire and Serve The Community In Heroic Ways

by Madelaine Boyer May 2017 Also on Digital Edition

Dr. Matthew Ajemian

Aquaman and Dr. Matthew Ajemian are both protectors of the sea and all that lives within it. The 35-year-old moved to Vero Beach last year to work as an assistant research professor at Florida Atlantic University’s Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute. “I got into this career because of my unconditional love and interest for sea creatures and the ocean they inhabit,” he says.

In what ways are you like your character?

Well, I am certainly not blond, nor do I prance around in green tights at work. However, I do enjoy being submerged underwater more than any other place, and do what I can to ensure that our marine resources are preserved and sustainable for future generations to enjoy. So, like Aquaman, I feel I am doing what I can to protect the sea’s creatures. Also, I don’t normally carry a trident with me at work.

What superhero-like things have you done in the community?

I have been very active in engaging the Treasure Coast community about some of the wonderful sea creatures that exist in their own backyards. I am also working closely with St. Lucie County to investigate the ability of artificial reefs to enhance reef fisheries’ activities along the Treasure Coast.

If you could have one superpower, what would it be?

The ability to breathe underwater, like Aquaman could. Otherwise, I’d love to be able to stop time and lift all submerged sea creatures to the surface so I can study them. Being underwater is great, but we as scientists are constrained to how much work we can get done while we’re there.

Will Glover

Just like his superhero counterpart, Will Glover, or the Flash, devotes much of his time to running. When the 45-year-old is not working in sales, he’s motivating trainees to achieve their goals as a running coach with IronGoat Endurance. “I believe we all think about doing the one extra thing, the one extra step,” Glover says. “I just try to act on it.” The Stuart resident trains runners, of all experience levels, from ages 14 to 70 every Thursday.

In what ways are you like your character?

I run a lot. Not quite as fast as Flash, more like Forrest Gump, but my wife is always wondering what’s next and where I’ll be at any given time.

What superhero-like things have you done in the community?

Last July a few friends and I ran from Lake Okeechobee to Stuart Beach (36 miles) to bring continued awareness of our ongoing River Crisis. We are planning on making “Toxic Trail” a community race this year with profits being donated to RiverKidz, among others. I am also continuing to develop a non-profit for stillborn awareness called Keegan’s Fund.

If you could have one superpower, what would it be?

The force to finally be able to retrieve the remote or to turn off that light switch without getting up. Flash has to rest.

Jack White

From serving in the military to working with the Port St. Lucie Police Department for more than 25 years, Jack White has been a true Superman for most of his life. The 59-year-old, who is known by friends as “the officer,” continues to serve his community today as a reserve police officer and as the Secure our Schools coordinator for the city of Port St. Lucie.

In what ways are you like your character?

As my wife would put it, ‘My husband is like Superman because he does so much in the community and at home around the house.’ She always tells me, ‘I don’t know how you do it.’

What superhero-like things have you done in the community?

As a reserve police officer for Port St. Lucie Police Department, I coordinate my time as the Secure Our Schools coordinator with my time as a reserve police officer. The two go hand in hand. The elementary students get excited when I wear my patrol uniform to school. ... [It’s] the uniform with the big ‘S’ on the chest. The kids seemed to respect the uniform more than the person, which is OK with me. To them I am their hero.

If you could fix one problem in the world, what would it be and how?

To stop the violence in the world, teach people how to love, respect and care for each other.

Dr. Leo Hart

Both the Silver Surfer and Dr. Leo Hart, 45, can often be found surfing and helping others. Hart has been a practicing chiropractor for the past 20 years. With his dedication to health and wellness, he hopes his passion positively affects his community and the people around him. “Without our health, we have nothing,” says the Stuart resident.

In what ways are you like your character?

Well, I love surfing, and I guess I’ve got some silver hairs coming in.

What superhero-like things have you done in the community?

We have done a lot of work with the city, other municipalities, local companies, civic organizations and our patients to deliver the message of health and wellness and how to live it as a lifestyle. In my opinion, it’s the single most important thing we do—teaching people how to avoid and need less “sickness” care. We’re also really passionate about our local environment and support all efforts for clean water and Everglades restoration.

If you could fix one problem in the world, what would it be and how?

Poverty for sure. Poverty is a root cause for so many other issues: lack of education, disruption of nuclear families, hunger and malnutrition, lack of access to other basic needs. For people who are constantly living in survival mode, it’s extremely difficult to engage in the very social change needed in the world.

Bob Benedix

Minus the green skin and the ripped purple shorts, Bob Benedix, 57, is the closest thing the Treasure Coast has to a real Hulk. The Port St. Lucie native owns his own gym, is a nationally ranked powerlifter and a former nuclear reactor operator and tester. So, it’s no wonder why Benedix is compared to the muscular scientist.

In what ways are you like your character?

I am like the Hulk because I am ranked No. 1 in the world in powerlifting, in the 181-pound class, with 11 world titles and 17 world records. [I am also the] first man to squat 804 pounds at 181 pounds, 4.5 times my body weight.

What superhero-like things have you done in the community?

I have trained hundreds of athletes and kids on the Treasure Coast and do rehab on people [who] were told they would never walk.

If you could fix one problem in the world, what would it be and how?

I love science, nutrition and kinesiology; [they’re a] part of my life. I invented GlycoForce, my own carbohydrate drink, because the world is so misinformed about nutrition. They know more about their car than what their body needs. [For example], diabetes is so controllable through diet and exercise. I would love to teach the world the truth.

Dr. Shamsher Singh

Dr. Shamsher Singh doesn’t have a superhuman power, but like Captain America, he does save lives through his practice as a dermatologist. The 69-year-old father of two’s office is located in Port St. Lucie, where Singh says he lives for the “wonderful weather, fantastic environment, low crime rate, great place to raise a family and numerous opportunities to help people.” One of his favorite ways to give back? The Honor Flight, which takes military veterans on trips to see the memorials in Washington, D.C. Singh has made 17 trips to Washington, D.C., with World War II veterans, and he plans to go again this month.

What superhero-like things have you done in the past?

I don’t know if they qualify as superhero things, but I try to help whenever I can, with the different charitable organizations. I don’t consider these things as superhero things. They are just a normal part of life and activities that all Americans do on a daily basis. Whenever there is a catastrophe in any part of the world, it is the Americans who are the first ones to step forward to help.

If you could fix one problem in the world, what would it be?

It would be peaceful coexistence with acceptance and respect for each other.

Growing up, did you have a favorite superhero?

My superhero was Batman—always trying to prevent catastrophic events and helping people in distress. When I was growing up there was no TV,  so I would passionately read Batman comic books.


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