Hodgen – The Ninja Protector of Red Cross Middletown Shelter

By Kathleen Maclay, Red Cross volunteer


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.


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.”