FARMINGTON, Utah (ABC4 News) – Operation Hero, a non-profit started by a wife of a fallen service member, continues to spread its message despite the pandemic.
Operation Hero’s creator Antoinette Stapley is working around COVID-19 by by bringing its booth outside. Her goal is to educate people about what Memorial Day really means.
“Our son passed away in October of 2013,” said Christi Barton.
Christi Barton is a mother of one of the fallen heroes who is being remembered in Station Park in Farmington for Memorial Day.
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“It hurts my heart to see all of these, (cries) but it also makes me so proud of every one of them,” said Barton.
Antoinette Stapley started Operation Hero to continue her husband Tracy’s legacy of giving back. Every Memorial Weekend, she does something to remember the fallen. Because of COVID-19, she put up signs all around Station Park to remember the fallen.
“We have 282 signs out and they’re from all over Utah,” said Stapley.
She says no matter where our fallen heroes have passed or where they are buried, it’s a way for families in Utah to remember them. Stapley also sets up a display every year.
“The boot display to come alive, it was for him to stand right in line with his brothers and sisters in arms…These are just a couple, a few, that have been decorated by the families we let the families decorate them, to tell the story of their loved ones,” said Stapley.
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She wants to educate people about being a Gold Star family member and the Gold Star flag.
“They’ve asked what country is that flag for?” she said.
Stapley says if a family member was in uniform when they passed, that makes the families Gold Star members.
“You don’t want to become a part of this, um… but honor them, and remember,” said Stapley.
“It’s hard to hear, ‘Happy Memorial Day’… A peaceful Memorial Day, might work,” said Barton.
Understanding Memorial Day is to honor the fallen and keep their peace.
For more information, find Operation Hero on Facebook.
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