ST. ALBANS — Northwestern Medical Center CEO Jill Bowen donned a cape and mask Friday morning, looking like the role she and many others will soon play for this community: a superhero.

Bowen is among the dozens the St. Albans area who will be photographed superhero-suited up for the Franklin-Grand Isle United Way (FGIUW) Superhero 5k run and walk. The race will be the kick-off for the fundraising year, and its theme is something FGIUW executive director Sally Bortz said should be celebrated all year long.

“Our theme is to be a superhero for our community,” Bortz said on Friday. “Actual hometown heroes.”

To get the ball rolling, FGIUW is photographing in capes and masks local people who contribute to the betterment of Franklin and Grand Isle counties through donations or community support.

“I think we’re going to aim for about 30 [people],” said Bortz. “So many people have given in so many ways – it’s important to recognize the heroes among us, everyday heroes.”

Bortz said that as FGIUW continues photographing, they keep thinking of more people to celebrate. She added, “We’re proud to work with them and appreciate their support.”

Several of these photos will appear in the Messenger in the next two weeks, and they will all be done in the run-up to the Superhero 5k, to take place Sept. 14 at Collins Perley Sports & Fitness Center. Included in the event will be a run and walk, a kid’s fun run, and a costume contest, and pre-registration will be available until Sept. 12.

The Superhero 5k will be the first of a number of events FGIUW will put on to try and achieve this year’s fundraising goal of $500,000.

To find out more about the upcoming race or FGIUW, please visit