By Jeff Holbury Sr.
Operation: S.T.A.T. (Standing Tall for American Troops) was originally called Operation: NEVER FORGET started on the ten year anniversary of 9/11 attacks on America. Organized and hosted by Adam Cook, it was a day for him and others to honor and thank local vetrans for their service. He started the day with a pancake breakfast hosted by another organization benefiting the wounded warriors, and then a leisurely motorcycle caravan to the Louis B. Stokes VA Medical Center in Cleveland, Ohio.
Once at the VA Hospital, a group of these participating bikers, led by Adam, made their way up to the sixth floor of the hospital, the spinal injury unit, and made sure to speak and visit every veteran on that floor. That visit on that day changed everything for Adam and the start of now what is known as Operation S.T.A.T. A patient was very overcome with emotion during Adam’s visit. When Adam asked why the patient was crying, the patient’s answer floored and deeply disturbed Adam. The reply from the Vietnam veteran patient was, “You are the first people I have seen in months that weren’t doctors or nurses, and it is just nice to see that you people took time out of your day to come up and pay us a visit and say thank you.” Adam did confirm this information with the staff, and profoundly sad, it was true. Upon leaving the hospital Adam promised the patients he would be back before the end of the year. On December 18, 2011, Adam and seven volunteers visited patients on the sixith floor delivering 60 stockings. The group took time in every room to listen to stories, share smiles, share tears, and gave them time to be heard and cared about.
In 2012, Adam’s group Operation Never Forget, was invited to the National Salute to Hospitalized Veterans Week by hosting a party for the patients who were not able to leave the hospital for the events. They organized the donations. later that same year, Adam and a growing number of volunteers deliveried 750 stockings to the cleveland hospital and care facility. The group wanted to take on the commitment of donation annually of stockings. Adam decided to make it a non profit organization, and the name then changed to Operation S.T.A.T. on March 14, 2013.
Since then, Operation S.T.A.T. has expanded to other chapters in other States. The Cleveland, Ohio chapter continues not only with the stockings annually, but has made it a commitment to take these hospitalized vets to community events and outings. This is often done with police and motorcycle escort. The chapter leaves no vetran feeling forgotten. The smiles on the faces of the oldest from World War ll to the youngest from Iraq and Afghanistan is priceless and forever imprinted on the hearts of volunteers. The joy and appreciation of these vets is overwhelmong. These vets are loved on, treated as if they are as important as the President of the United States. The volunteers reward is all in a few words and smiles. One vet told Adam once, ” All he ever wanted to hear was “welcome home””, and on that day, he finally felt appreciated by so many.
The vets were recently honored at The Lake County Captains Military Appreciation Night with Motorcycle Escort by Operation S.T.A.T. Jeff Holblury, of Drone Ohio, was invited to participate with many others for the event and motorcycle procession. That is when Jeff thought of the idea of his hobby of photography and videography to be donoated for the cause. Drone Ohio was able to get aerial footage, ground footage, and still pictures. Jeff went to the work of producing a video documenting the event. Jeff has recently added droning to his talent and that is when Drone Ohio was founded.
Drone Ohio was there to document this action of humanity, brotherly and sisterly love for those to never be forgotten again.
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