FORT DRUM Its more than medicine when it comes to the music of Staff Sgt. Shareef J. Stokely.
Call it a case of beats, rhymes and bettering lives.
A video of Sgt. Stokely a noncommissioned officer in charge of the post facilitys orthopedic clinicrapping a song about cast care called, Cast Rules Jingle, to a young patient has turned into a viral sensation. The video has generated more than 550,000 hits on YouTube in three days and spurred an appearance on NBCs Today show Thursday.
I dont know what to make of it, he said Friday. I wasnt in it for the fame.
Sgt. Stokely rapped several instructions to 8-year-old Jayden Bennett during her appointment Monday at the posts Guthrie Ambulatory Health Care Clinic after she broke her foot playing at a playground.
His advice included keeping the cast dry and her leg up.
Dont hate, elevate, he told her in the song.
Its a song Sgt. Stokely crafted about 12 years ago at Tripler Army Medical Center in Hawaii. A fellow medic had given a young patient a laundry list of instructions at a pace so fast he was sure the patient didnt understand. Taking to pad and paper, and counting out syllables to match the beat, Sgt. Stokely created the rap.
Since then, he has performed it for hundreds of young patients, usually ages 7 to 17.
It was another day, another rap, Sgt. Stokely said.
Unlike his other performances, his rapping Monday was filmed by Jaydens mother, Jessica M. Bennett.
He just kind of went to town, she said. It was the coolest thing ever.
First uploading the video to Facebook, Mrs. Bennett had a friend put it on YouTube, where it spread like wildfire.
It kind of blew my mind, Mrs. Bennett said.
Unnamed in the video, Sgt. Stokely was unaware of its popularity until he received calls about it from several friends.
I thought they were joking, he said. That led to Thursdays appearance on the Today show, where he talked about the song with Willie Geist, Tamron Hall and Natalie Morales.
Since it went online, Sgt. Stokely said, hes received a few compliments about the video and some joking autograph requests from co-workers.
Despite his new fame, he said he was trying to keep a low profile, playing catch with his two sons and brushing his daughters hair.
Im a regular dad, he said.
Dont expect Sgt. Stokely to quit his day job anytime soon. He said he is not a real rapper; the cast-rules rap is his only full song.
Its just for fun, said the sergeant, whose 19-year Army career includes deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Among his favorite rappers are Ghostface Killah, Ludacris, Jay-Z and Eminem.
Mrs. Bennett said her daughter would be in a cast for a few more weeks. However, she said, Jayden told her she was looking forward to seeing Sgt. Stokely again. He may have added another fan in Mrs. Bennetts 2-year-old daughter, Carley, she said, after he sang her a few lines of, Do You Want to Build a Snowman? from the movie, Frozen.
Sgt. Stokely said his style and care for young patients is a way to support his fellow soldiers.
You come to my clinic, youre treated like family every time, he said.
Video of Sgt. Stokelys Cast Rules Jingle rap can be found at http://wdt.me/Stokely-rap. His appearance on the Today show can be seen at http://wdt.me/U5MVxL.