We're Michael and Maria Elkady.
Were not ones who like to talk about ourselves. However, you’re probably wondering how we met and started Heroes Unmasked. Michael and I were fifteen when we first met and it was love at first sight! You know a Cinderella story; it goes something like that.
I was getting ready to attend a Sweet Sixteen and little did Michael know he was going to be the love of my life… In the turning of events I was told by my parents I couldn’t go to my friends Sweet Sixteen as my brother’s prom date named (Destiny) bailed last minute for his Senior Prom. That’s right, you guessed it, I ended up going to my brothers PROM! I was all dolled up in a dress my Mother pulled out of her closet and it was a size too big for me! My hair was so curly I looked like “Curly Sue”. Within the hour we got ready and arrived to Prom; there was Michael sitting at a table surrounded by my brother’s friends. Immediately he caught my attention, tall, dark hair and had a cute smile. Everyone at the table was laughing because my brother took his little sister to his Senior Prom.
Not wasting time, I took off my heels and hit the dance floor! Little did I know Michael was watching me from afar. I ended up walking up to him at a table where he seemed shy to talk to me. I asked him if he would like to dance. He replied, “I can’t dance.” I giggled, and told him to look around, no one can dance. He said, “ok, but watch your feet.” With his two left feet, and my rhythm we danced the night away. Eventually, we departed for the evening. Michael whom I didn’t know his name nor did he know mine at the time, left with not knowing each others names. However, FATE brought us together that night again, we went to the local bowling alley in our hometown and there we seen each other. We talked, laughed and played bowling; as the evening came to a near we still haven't exchanged names. Eventually, I left the bowling alley with my brother and I never knew Michael’s name (he was just a guy in my head I couldn’t stop thinking about).
Two weeks went by and I couldn’t stop thinking about the magical night I had at Prom with a guy I just met and probably would never see again. Little did I know, Michael felt the same way and was determined to meet me again. He walked 8 miles from his house going north bound on US 41 to the Mall and back looking for where my brother worked. He went in and out of local businesses asking if my brother worked there. He never gave up and eventually associated himself with my brother and they became friends. To my surprise my brother brought Michael over our house and there he was; the guy I was head over heels about. I didn’t really know anything about him and he didn’t know me, all we knew was the amazing night we had at PROM together. One thing led to another Michael and I started to build a friendship, we talked through text, and spent hours over the phone talking. After six months of building a friendship, we officially became a couple in high school. During our course of high school and college, we became very proactive in giving back to the community and created and organized many events for school programs.
Forwarding to years later in our twenties were married (high school sweat-hearts), and traveling the world together on our first trip to Italy. We were young, very much still in love, and absolutely carefree. On our first international trip we were adventurous, taking in the breathtaking views of Italy and soaking up every minute with each other, laughing, and of course, taking lots of photos. We love traveling internationally learning different cultures, enjoying the history, food and most importantly each others company. We love to travel because it humbles us every time and allows us to be open minded to all aspects of life.
Early in Michael’s career as a Deputy, he organized a Christmas event for the Sheriffs Office. Prior to the event, he would place boxes around the entire agency in hopes of gaining toy donations and made it a competition to whomever shift donated the most toys would win a pizza party. After donations were collected, he organized volunteers to include Santa, Mrs Claus, Elves and a Gingerbread man to deliver before Christmas to the local children at the hospital. After many years of visiting children in hospitals, we learned children were at both homes and hospitals for treatment. So we turned to each other and said how can we give back more throughout the year and not just around the holiday season when most people give?
Now in our thirties, we are philanthropist and proud founders of Heroes Unmasked, Inc. Heroes Unmasked is a nonprofit organization based in Southwest Florida. Our goal is to render aid to all children who are unwell. We are a group of individuals wearing costumes resembling childhood superheroes making appearances in hospitals and at residential homes throughout Florida. Heroes Unmasked is calling on all heroes within the community to join our alliance of fighting evil, known as ailments in children. Our commitment is to ensure every child has a brighter tomorrow. We strive to live a life worth living. We continue to build our friendship, support one another and continue to make our dreams a reality.
“Life isn’t meant to be merely survived- it’s meant to be lived.”
We are sharing with you our passion for giving back and we hope you will join us on our adventure to live a life worth living.
Michael and Maria Elkady