COLUMBIA, S.C. — It's one o'clock at Patriot's Park at the Columbia Veterans Affairs Medical Center campus Thursday, and outside it's quiet.
Suddenly, a flood of nurses, doctors and other staff members all dressed in red come rushing outside a neighboring building.
They've been asked to convene for a meeting, but, to their surprise there was no formal agenda or meeting notes. Instead, in the center of the park stood Stanley Foreman, a patient at the center.
"The VA hospital, for me and a whole lot of people, has been a savior," Foreman said. "I just wanted to come out and tell them guys thank you for everything that they do and they put their lives on the line everyday."
Foreman, a 22-year army veteran, was so thankful for their service that he planned a surprise to give thanks.
"When you go to a veterans hospital, you have staff in there that's trained and they understand some of the problems that veterans have," Foreman said. "We're great when we first go in 'cause we're young and we're these big, strong warriors, but towards the end of our career the body starts breaking down."
So, to the team of people who helped build him back up, he offered two gifts. First, a thank you, then a Chick-Fil-A gift card to show his appreciation.
"It means a lot; it really means a lot," Jacqueline Pineda, a physician at the center, said. "In my opinion, it makes me do even better.... It's nice to be appreciated and be recognized."
As the coronavirus remains a concern, Foreman, who served overseas, now just wanted the chance to say thank you to those fighting here at home.
"... and if I could do it once a month, I would do it once a month," Foreman said. "I really thank them guys and I want them to know that... we love them and we know that they have a hard job."