HOLLY SPRINGS, N.C. – U.S. Army Cpl. Cody Stanton, an Afghanistan veteran and double amputee, recently received the keys to a new specially adapted home built by Operation: Coming Home volunteers.
Soldiers, community leaders, and neighbors attended a ceremony at Stanton’s new home June 27 to honor his service and sacrifice in the defense of freedom.
Stanton, a Purple Heart recipient, was injured in January 2012 while training with Afghan Police outside Kandahar, Afghanistan, when an improvised explosive device detonated. His injuries resulted in the amputation of both legs.
“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 the 503rd 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 to Afghanistan from Fort Bragg, N.C., with the 21st MP Company, 503rd MP Battalion, 16th MP Brigade in November 2011 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.
U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Marcos Emelio, of Pueblo, Colo., was Stanton’s supervisor at the time when he was injured and applied the tourniquets to his legs and began life saving treatment.
“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 musical performances and local officials were present to honor Stanton during the key ceremony.
Along with being appointed battalion commander for the day, Stanton was 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,” Rich Van Tassel, a board member with Operation: Coming Home, said during the ceremony. “We only hope it will serve you here for many years to come.”