News: Operation: Coming Home V
Story by Sgt. Barry St. Clair
HOLLY SPRINGS, N.C. - U.S. Army Cpl. Cody Stanton received the keys to a new home built by Operation: Coming Home volunteers here, June 27. Soldiers, community leaders, and neighbors attended a ceremony to honor the service and sacrifice Stanton has given in the defense of freedom.
Stanton, a Purple Heart recipient, sustained his injuries in January 2012 resulting in the amputation of both legs while training with Afghan Police outside Kandahar, Afghanistan when an improvised explosive device detonated.
“One of the toughest calls I have ever had to make as a commander was to call Nancy [Stanton’s mother] at work and try to convince her that he was going to be OK,” said 503D Military Police Battalion Commander Lt. Col. Terry M. Nihart, in a voice choked with emotion. “At that point we were going day by day.”
Stanton deployed with 21st MP Company, 503rd MP BN, 16th MP Brigade, from Fort Bragg, N.C., in November 2011 to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
“When we have someone like Cody, who sacrificed so much at such a young age, and will face significant challenges throughout the rest of his life, he did it for his country; he did it for all of you out there,” said Nihart.
Nihart appointed Stanton battalion commander for the day.
“Cpl. Stanton has faced more in his young life, than many face in 80 years. I would be remiss if I did not thank Nancy Stanton, and the entire Stanton family for your support of Cpl. Stanton. You have sacrificed and suffered for our country in the most challenging ways,” said Capt. Marissa F. Ballesteros, commander of 21st MP Company.
U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Marcos Emelio of Pueblo, Colo. was Cpl. Stanton’s supervisor at the time when he was injured and applied the tourniquets to his legs and began life saving treatment. Stanton transferred from the hospital at Bagram Air Field, Afghanistan to Germany, then finally to the United States where he was reunited with his family.
“He would have done the same for me if the situation were reversed,” said Emelio. “It is just what we do as soldiers to take care of each other.”
The ceremony included the National Anthem sung by Miss Goldsboro 2013. Jamie Tate, a country singer with All Veteran Parachute Team, sang “I’ll Give My All,” a portion of which includes the 82nd Airborne Division all American song. Local officials were present to honor Cpl. Stanton during the key ceremony.
Along with being appointed battalion commander for the day, Stanton way made mayor of Holly Springs for a day by Mayor Dick Sears. Wake County Sherriff Donnie Harrison also appointed Stanton as an honorary deputy of Wake County.
Operation: Coming Home is a joint volunteer project led by the Home Builders Association of Raleigh-Wake County, the Triangle Real Estate and Construction Veterans, and supported by Royal Oaks Building Group and Gaines & Company. Together they conduct fundraising events, coordinate building projects, and present adapted living homes to some of the most physically challenged military veterans at no cost to the service member or their Family. This requires recruiting volunteer donors who are willing to donate time or material, or both toward the home raising.
“The home is given with no strings attached,” said Rich Van Tassel, board member with Operation: Home Coming, during the ceremony. “We only hope it will serve you here for many years to come.”