James Hudnall: Up and Walking!

james-hudnall-fullWriter James Hudnall has a new prosthetic leg thanks to help from Hero and YOU! And you can read Hudnall’s new book, Hell’s Reward!

Mike Grell Says Some Very Nice Words About Hero Initative

By Mike Grell

Somewhere around the end of July, I found a small bug bite on my right calf. On July 31, I developed flu-like symptoms and achy joints. That night I fell asleep while reading and awoke at about 4
a.m. with a fever. Alarmingly, my right eye would not track and my first thought was STROKE. Fortunately, I quickly put myself through the stroke evaluation and passed on all counts, so I was confident it was NOT a stroke even before I arrived at Summit Pacific Medical Center, where I was admitted on August 1.

After CAT scans, MRI’s, X-Rays, Ultrasounds and a spinal tap (nowhere near as much fun as the movie!) ruled out stroke, aneurism, tumors, diabetes, meningitis, MERSA, Lyme disease, and necrotizing fasciitis, we were left with what pretty much everyone suspected from the start: Cellulitis. By August 3rd, my vision had returned to 100% normal, my general condition was improving and my doctors expected me to be discharged shortly. Then the wheels fell off.

It seems cellulitis is a nasty bug that, even when you kill it off with antibiotics, produces toxins that destroy other tissue. As days went by, most of my right calf became an infected mass and my whole right leg swelled to twice normal size. After eleven days of around-the-clock IV antibiotics, it became evident that something wasn’t working.

I was transferred to the Infectious Disease Center at Providence St. Peter’s Hospital in Olympia, Wash., where they went to work on me, changed a couple of things in my treatment and, after two days, told me they were looking at sending me home on the 16th. That was the best news I had had in all of August. Once they started me on physical therapy to get my muscles moving again, I improved rapidly and was discharged on August 16th.

Nearly three weeks later, my leg looks like the aftermath of a motorcycle accident (complete with fire), but at least it’s still attached. But I missed an entire month’s work and was forced to cancel three personal appearances, which put us in a serious financial bind.

It was my art rep Scott Kress (of CatskillComics.com) who reminded me of the Hero Initiative, mentioning that they had helped another of his clients over a rough patch. I’ve always supported The Hero Initiative whenever and wherever I’ve had the chance, but never expected to benefit from the program. One email got an immediate response and immediate assurance that I was in the right hands. Within a few days, my situation was resolved, quickly, professionally and, I must say, with dignity.

That last part is more important than you might think. It’s very difficult to ask for help, even when you need it, even from folks whose whole purpose is to do just that. But the Hero Initiative takes the sting out of it with a caring, professional attitude that lets you know they do this because they really do care.

Thanks, guys. I’m looking forward to the next convention where I can put in time at the Hero Initiative booth.

Mike Grell

Russ Heath Speaks Out on behalf of Hero Initiative!

At 86 years old and with a bum knee (or two!), things are just a little more difficult. But Hero Initiative has been able to help me with finances, smooth over some medical expenses, and find me
some very nice-paying art jobs. And now, one of their associates has just helped me in a new and immense way.

I did some animation work back in the 1960s and was part of the Motion Picture Industry’s Pension and Health Plan. I paid in to the plan…and forgot about it. The 1960s were a long time ago. Well, earlier this year, the Plan finally tracked me down and told me they had a lump sum of old money for me that had accumulated some interest and benefit. The notice came along with 11 pages of documents that were a little different to navigate. So I called the Hero Initiative.

They set me up with Harlan Wenig, their financial services advisor. Harlan speaks the language of those 11 pages a lot better than I do. Hero got copies of the documents to Harlan, and he called me to review and explain everything. He then conference-called the Plan with me on the line, and stayed on hold with me for hours as we were routed from department to department. Harlan had a feeling about something in those documents. Turns out…he was right.

Looks like I actually had about five times the money coming to me the Plan originally thought. Harlan knew the questions to ask, the people to talk to, and the way to get things taken care of. He was cheerful and professional throughout, and got the job done. At the end of a two-hour phone call, and once I finally got all the documents signed and sent in, I had a very nice check coming to me—again, about five times what I originally expected.

I’ve seen first-hand what the Hero Initiative does. Money, medical, financial advice—they work.

Like I say, I’m a pretty lucky guy.

—Russ Heath

Julius Schwartz Cover Proofs and JLA Auction at Tate’s Comics!

The social event of the season will take place Jan. 21, 2012 at Tate’s Comics in Lauderhill, FL, in the Miami-Ft. Lauderdale area. Tate’s famous Bear and Bird Gallery will have 297 vintage DC Comics cover proofs from 1964-1974 that once belonged to legendary DC Editor Julius Schwartz. These blank-backed cover sheets were the final printer’s proofs Schwartz would review before a book would go to print. They’ve been gifted to Hero Initiative, and will be available starting Jan. 21 at $100 each.

And can you dig it? A whopping 87 of these proofs feature art by Neal Adams, and Neal has graciously autographed them all! Four more have been autographed by artist Joe Giella.

Each proof comes with a double-swell Certificate of Authenticity as well, corresponding to its particular issue.
And as if that wasn’t enough, the second leg of our “Justice League of America 100 Project” auctions also happens on Jan. 21! A whoppin’ 35 original covers go up on the auction block! For full details including proxy bidding information if you can’t make it to Tate’s, check out our JLA hub page.

Jim McLauchlin