Mark Wrote a book of his experiences.
“Psychiatric Survivor: From Misdiagnosed Mental Patient to Hospital Director (Rainbow's End Company, 1999) is the autobiography of A. Mark Bedillion. Mark led a very reckless life that hurt many people. Mark was a womanizer, a drug fiend, and a lawbreaker. His life got so out of control that his family decided to lock him up in a mental institution. The many addictions Mark had were finally overcome when he turned his life around in drug and alcohol rehabilitation. The author found the 12-step approach, with Jesus as his higher power, to be an effective way to overcome the addictions and problems of his life. After freeing himself of his addictions, he went on to become a therapist, then hospital director. Furthermore, he also became a radio talk show host that spread the message of the 12-step approach. The end of the book is quite good because he shares his insights on mental health and clearly demonstrates that he has learned from his mistakes. Although the title of the book is Psychiatric Survivor, this is slightly misleading. Only after years of reckless living as a drug fiend and womanizer, that was becoming violent, did his parents decide to institutionalize him. The portion of the book discussing mental hospitals is relatively small, although he does share his critique of them.”
Education: Duquesne University, master's degree in counseling; La Roche College, bachelor's degree in psychology.
Employment: Pittsburgh's super hero
Background: Donning black-and-gold cape, mask and tights, Burgh Man promotes positive lifestyle choices to young people. He publishes that message through comic books with positive themes.
Oath: "I promise to listen to my parents and teachers and not smoke cigarettes, drink alcohol, take drugs or be violent. I will treat everyone with respect and I promise to become the best I can be."
Noteworthy: Bedillion was recognized by Pittsburgh City Council for "instilling in the minds of our children a reinforcement of positive values." Oct. 8 was proclaimed as "Burgh Man Day" in Pittsburgh.
Quote: "I came up with the comic book concept and Burgh Man concept. Burgh Man can reach kids so they never pick these things up (drugs, alcohol, tobacco, violence). In each edition, I try to promote Pittsburgh and creativity."
— By Andrew Conte
(2004) Pittsburgh, USA
The date is December 31st -- an evening known as "First Night" to many Pittsburghers -- and as the crackling bonfire that's roasting in a trashcan down the street rises and falls with the wind, a man wearing a bicycle helmet and a long, black cape sails anxiously up and down a nearby block, back and forth, on a pair of Rollerblades that have been decorated in tiny red, white and blue blinking lights. Gold sequins line the hem of his cape, and on his chest is a giant gold star, emblazoned with the letter B. His eyes and his nose are covered in a mask made of fabric --- one half gold, the other half black --- and after circling the block again, slump-shouldered and grinning, he comes to a stop in front of Shiba Russell, an evening news anchor for WTAE-TV. Her cameraman flips a switch and floods Russell's face in white light as she puts on a wide smile and brings a microphone up to her mouth. "Oh, look!" she says, with an air of mock surprise. "It's a bird! It's a plane! It's Burgh Man!" Behind her, the man in the cape --- a former mental health worker from Shadyside who periodically shows up at city-sponsored events in a makeshift superhero costume -- continues to skate back and forth, but this time in smaller circles and with three blinking balls that he carefully juggles for the camera. As she talks, Russell motions at the spectacle of Burgh Man behind her and at the grandeur of First Night, but the roar of the music drowns out her words, and within seconds the cameraman flips the switch again and the light disappears, and so does Russell's smile, and they both gather their things and wander slowly into the crowd.
I started Burgh Man probably around late 1999, early 2000." It's now 10 days into the new year, and Mark Bedillion is resting on a couch in his assistant's Carnegie home, where a fire is burning in the living room. In front of the mantel, a large frame displays a certificate that was presented to Bedillion by City Council President Gene Ricciardi over a year ago, proclaiming October 8, 2002 to be "Burgh Man Day" in the City of Pittsburgh.
"I belong to a rollerblading club called the Three Rivers Incline Club," he explains, between small sips of coffee. His assistant Bonnie Provost, a retired schoolteacher who sells Burgh Man t-shirts and bottles of Burgh Man Super Water whenever Bedillion suits up and takes to the streets, is sitting in an easy chair next to the couch, her hands folded carefully in her lap.
"It was the Fourth of July," he continues, "and the people in the club were all dressing up. Everybody had a costume. I think I saw a sign that said, 'It's a 'Burgh Thing,' and an idea came to me about Burgh Man. So I went down to the costume company in the Strip District, and they had a cape that was fairly inexpensive, and I said, 'Would you mind sewing the letters "Burgh Man" on the back?'"
A few days later, the Incline Club met in the parking of the South Side Giant Eagle, and everyone was in costume for the ride. Bedillion showed up wearing the Burgh Man cape. "Everybody was laughing," he says, a smile spreading across his face. "They loved it. And as we rollerbladed, the streets began to fill up with people that were making their way into the city, and people started screaming, 'Burgh Man! Burgh Man!' It was the most incredible thing I ever encountered."
The plan, as Bedillion explains it, was for the club to rollerblade over to Heinz Field, where they'd have a good view of the night's fireworks. But as Bedillion and the rest of the club came over the Sixth Street Bridge from Downtown and onto the North Shore, they noticed a young boy, who was pointing at the skaters and yelling. It wasn't until they came to the end of the bridge that they could make out his words. "Hey, Dad!" he was shouting, with a giant grin on his face. "I didn't know Pittsburgh had a superhero!"
"And so I thought, this is really interesting," says Bedillion. "And then the ideas just began to come."
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