Hope Award Recognizes Selfless Service to Servicemembers
(November 22, 2007)
|WASHINGTON, Nov. 19, 2007 – The Army, Navy, Air Force,
Marines and Coast Guard each honored one of their own at a
Pentagon ceremony today with an award named for
actor-comedian Bob Hope. |
Army Chief of Staff Gen. George W. Casey Jr. hosted the
Spirit of Hope Awards ceremony.
The award honors Hope's values of duty, honor, courage,
loyalty, commitment, integrity and selfless dedication, said
Michael Kagin, the award's originator. It recognizes
individuals or organizations who have “selflessly
contributed an extraordinary amount of time, talent or
resources to significantly enhance the quality of life of
servicemembers around the world,” he said.
Bob Hope traveled the world under the United Service
Organizations banner to entertain American servicemembers
wherever they were stationed. His first USO show was at
March Field, Calif., in 1941, and his last USO tour
entertained forces in the Persian Gulf War in 1990. The U.S.
Congress recognized Hope at an honorary veteran of the U.S.
armed forces. He died in 2003, two months after his 100th
The Army recognized retired Chaplain (Col.) Lyle Metzler for
his lifelong contributions. Metzler served two tours in
Vietnam as a Special Forces officer. He retired from the
military and became a chaplain, where he became dedicated to
working with soldiers and their families. In 2005, he
volunteered to serve as chaplain for the 145th Medical
Battalion and its five associated units as it deployed to
Afghanistan. He served as a personal mentor and counselor to
several soldiers and their families.
The Navy honored James W. Carrier for his efforts to improve
the lives of veterans and for aid to wounded warriors.
Carrier helped to raise $40 million for the Center for the
Intrepid wounded warrior rehabilitation facility at Fort Sam
Houston, Texas, and for the Fisher House Foundation, which
builds housing so the relatives of wounded servicemembers
can visit them as they recover. He also raised money for the
Navy SEAL Warrior Fund.
Air Force Master Sgt. Louis D. Pell received the award for a
lifetime of outreach to airmen and veterans. Assigned to
Offutt Air Force Base, Neb., Pell coordinated and
participated in many volunteer efforts, including blood
drives, muscular dystrophy fundraising and reading to
elementary school students.
The Marine Corps recognized the Injured Marine Semper Fi
Fund for its efforts to provide financial assistance to
Marines injured in combat or training. With the generosity
and support of the American people, the group – founded by
Marine spouses around a kitchen table in 2004 – has provided
more than $9.4 million in assistance to more than 1,700
servicemembers. One of the group's co-founders – Wendy
Lethin – received the award on behalf of the fund.
Coast Guardsman Marvin J. Perrett received his award
posthumously. He piloted a Higgins boat in the invasions of
Normandy, Iwo Jima and Okinawa during World War II. After
the war, he returned to his native New Orleans and became a
leader in establishing the National World War II Museum
there. Perrett traveled the country telling a new generation
the Coast Guard's story.
Casey recalled that Bob Hope received the Sylvanus Thayer
Award in 1968 at West Point. In his speech, the comedian
said that “living in America is a great privilege. The only
thing greater is that wonderful feeling in your heart when
you know that you deserve that privilege, that you have paid
for your little slice of freedom.”
Casey said that much has changed since 1968, when the West
Point class was ready to deploy to Vietnam. “We're fighting
a different war, we're fighting a different enemy, but what
America stands for – life liberty and the pursuit of
happiness – has remained constant,” Casey said. “And our
soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, Coast Guardsmen and
their families are bearing a heavy burden now after six
years of war. (The honorees') efforts are especially worthy
of note and recognition. They epitomize the values of Bob
By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service
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