Sgt. Anthony Licata, a trumpet player with the 3rd Infantry Division Band, donates his time by dressing up as Batman and volunteering for nonprofit community events like fundraisers, charities and birthday parties. He dubs his performances, “cause-play.”
“It’s a way to give back to the communities I’ve lived in,” Licata said. “I’ve done charities, fundraisers, birthday parties, anything that’s for a good cause.”
Licata said he started suiting up as Batman in college for fun with friends and got the idea to call it “cause-play” after his son was hospitalized after his birth in 2012.
“After seeing the kids in the children’s ward, that’s when it hit me that I could be suiting up and making a difference in their lives and give them something to smile about,” Licata said.
Since he began in 2012 at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, he has continued to volunteer at his follow-on duty stations at Fort Hood, Texas, and Fort Eustis, Virginia, and now at Fort Stewart. In total, Licata has volunteered for at least 50 events across all of his duty stations.
The COVID-19 spread mitigation measures put in place have encouraged Licata to continue to give back to his community. He recently went to a birthday party for a child who could not have friends over due to the pandemic. He said he spoke with the parents in advance, so they could let the child know not to hug Batman and to maintain proper social distancing.
“When I see the kids, we talk about superhero training,” Licata said. “I tell them that even during the pandemic, they can continue to stay active and read, because that is their super power. If it’s their birthday, I will give them a toy as well.”
Licata said that oftentimes, his wife volunteers her time as his handler, and his son and daughter accompany him as Robin and Batgirl.
“I find satisfaction in that I gave something back,”Licata said. “Any chance that I can go out and bring as little as five or 10 minutes of happiness to a child, that’s all the satisfaction I need.”