Kevin Raber – QForce Special Projects Director
QForce is aggressively expanding in both the size of the pilot team and in the verticals being serviced, but for this past week, it was time to put all that aside and dedicate our resources to a worthy and deserving cause.
For those who don’t know, QForce is the Airborne Division of QCommunications. In this capacity QForce provides a wide range of technical data collection and inspection services. Formed to service the broadcast industry in support of the government’s REPACK program, QForce has grown to service a variety of verticals in the sUAS / drone industry. QForce pilots have been trained and have spent years gaining experience as some of the absolute best technical data gatherers in the industry. Whether they are flying the core radio frequency (RF) mapping mission or servicing newer verticals in critical infrastructure inspection and 3D modeling, they have a unique ability to design, collect, and process challenging data sets using a unique fleet of specialized platforms.
But for this week QForce took a break from their typical busy schedule, pulled all the pilots out of the field, and turned their skills back to where many of these talented pilots got their start in media capture. Phil Larson, QForce VP, in partnership with the local Healing Fields committee in Utah, planned and coordinated five days of volunteer and media coverage support to help capture and memorialize this event for the 20th anniversary of 9/11.
The team worked tirelessly from sunup to sundown to assist with placing the flags, coordinating various events, and most importantly capturing these moments for years and generations to come. On Wednesday and Thursday, September 8th and 9th, the team helped emplace the 3,000 flags and capture the opening moments and welcome visitors to the Sandy Promenade.
As the event continued to build to the 20th anniversary the team was able to interact with visitors and capture the somber moments as visitors paid their respects and remembered the events of September 11th in their own ways. Many of these visitors came early to have a quiet moment to remember loved ones lost and the personal impact of the day’s events. The latter part of the day on the 10th brought various veterans’ groups, school visits to educate their classes about events now many years before the students were born, and a car show with prizes and raffles for everyone who came out to share in the moments and day’s activities. September 10th ended with an enormous team of generous volunteers coming together for the Light the Night: One Life – One Light event. Visitors continued to come long into the night to see this absolutely gorgeous display of lights leading up to September 11th.
Finally, September 11th, 2021 began with the team out before sunrise and remaining until well after dark to capture every moment of the day. After visitors poured in all day, the evening began with the team spending time with many of the dedicated veterans and supporters on the motorcycle ride supported by the Sandy Police Department motorcycle division. Hundreds upon hundreds of riders arrived in a seemingly endless line and kicked off the evening. With a special concert by the Utah Symphony and local fire, police, and military units coming out to lead the tribute, the evening was spent with hundreds of people gathered together to remember the terrible events of the day 20 years ago.
QForce has pilots who were less than a year old on September 11th, 2001, and pilots who have been serving in the military since before that date. While the events of the day impacted everyone in their own way, there is no doubt that these memorials help many remember and many others learn about this for the first time. While we often think of drones as tools in a very technically focused field it is truly remarkable what they allow to be captured and memorialized for years to come. While the team is already back on the road and back to performing their usual missions, QForce will be proudly supporting events like this for many years to come.