Most folks who watched television in the 1970s would know who the one and only Incredible Hulk is. Marvel Comics may have introduced the character in 1962, but Lou Ferrigno playing Bruce Banner’s alter ego is the image most folks think of when the Hulk is mentioned.
The Incredible Hulk may be a fictional superhero, but Lou Ferrigno is real, and best of all, he visited Big Walnut High School in Sunbury last week to share a motivational message with students.
Ferrigno came to the high school courtesy of the Delaware County Sheriff Office, where he is a duly sworn-in reserve deputy. Ferrigno is not a celebrity deputy, either. He has spent six months at a police academy and served 12 years as a San Luis Obispo Sheriff’s Department reserve deputy north of Los Angeles while managing a busy film and television career.
Ferrigno, who lost 75 percent of his hearing as the result of a childhood ear infection, spoke to the students about overcoming obstacles and adversity, and being successful in life.
“When we’re children and teenagers, we do not have the psychological tools to defend ourselves, and I had a lot of anger in me,” Ferrigno said. “I wanted to pass, not fail, but I could not hear well, I didn’t like school, I didn’t like any of my teachers.”
Ferrigno said much of his anger had roots in fear; he was afraid of being judged by his disability.
“I learned that you can’t compete with other people; you only compete with yourself,” Ferrigno said. “Everything you do successfully in life, you have to be focused. You have to step over that line and take action. No one in this world can take action for you.”
Ferrigno also touched on bullying, reminding students that they are a family; that it’s important as a student body that they keep their brotherhood and sisterhood together.
“You only have one life to live,” Ferrigno said. “Your passion, whatever it is, is your most valuable possession, your main strength – take care of it.”
Lenny C. Lepola can be reached at 614-266-6093. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.