Hodgen – The Ninja Protector of Red Cross Middletown Shelter

By Kathleen Maclay, Red Cross volunteer

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The Red Cross shelters at Middletown High and Middle Schools doesn’t need to broadcast popular cartoons or the latest superhero films, not with six-year-old Ben Hodgen Jr. in the house.

With regularity, the boy dons a black-and-red ninja costume shortly after rising from the cot he sleeps on next to his parents, Ben Hodgen Sr. and Marie Reed, and the family’s four-month-old puppy, Fatboy.

And with a whoosh and a few rapid-fire karate chops, he’s off on his daily rounds pitting the forces of good against, of course, the forces of evil.

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Little Hodgen tells other clients and shelter staff that he’s there to protect them all, including his parents.

“I don’t have real superpowers,” the about-to-be-first-grader confides later, out of earshot of those he’s sworn to protect. He says he doesn’t want anyone to be afraid of him. “But I am a real ninja.”