It’s the season of giving, and for the next couple of days, millions of Americans will celebrate Christmas. But for some families this year, the holiday season will take place in a hospital. One South Dakota man is doing his best superhero impression, to bring joy to sick children of the Mt. Rushmore State.
Terry Mattke of Harrisburg lives a normal life with a normal job. But he has a hobby that displays his real passion in life. In his free time, Mattke assists with charity events, but he does so by dressing up and impersonating the Dark Knight - Batman.
During the holiday season, it’s not uncommon for Mattke to make a special visit to one of the local hospitals to surprise children with gifts and a meet and greet from one of Gotham’s greatest superheroes.
"I’m not a celebrity. I’m not anybody famous, who anybody knows," says Mattke. "I just took my love for batman with superheroes, and kids who love superheroes, and bought the suit and we decided that’s what we were going to do."
It’s something Mattke has been doing for the last three or so years, and he says seeing the joy on children’s faces, especially around the holiday season, is something that keeps him going.
"It’s about the families. It’s about their sacrifice, and the little things that I can do to make them smile. If I can touch a life, if I can touch their family in some amazing way, that’s what it’s about," explains Mattke. "It’s the true spirit of Christmas, good will towards men and to mankind. That’s what we try to do, and that’s what I do with this batman character. I come in, and if I can make them forget about anything and make them feel like the only thing in the only world, even if it’s for five minutes – ten minutes, that’s what I want to do."
Mattke, who calls himself the Sioux Falls batman, can also be seen driving around the Sioux Empire at times in a black Polaris Slingshot that has been modified to look like the bat-mobile.