Nov. 15, 2011 – The Defense Department, the family of late actor and
comedian Bob Hope and the Wiegand Foundation honored six people with
the Spirit of Hope Award for their selflessness and commitment to
troops during a Pentagon ceremony today.
“We come together
each year to present the Spirit of Hope Award, as we will do today,
to individuals and organizations that were nominated by the Army,
the Marine Corps, the Navy, the Air Force, the Coast Guard and the
Office of the Secretary of Defense,” said Michael L. Rhodes, OSD'S
director of administration and management.
Spirit of Hope Medal recipients are:
Janice Bridges, Army
Ronald Katz, Marine Corps
Petty Officer 1st Class Jamar Salters,
Elaine Savage, Coast Guard
Tech. Sgt. Leray Smedley, Air Force
Segs4Vets received the organization award from the Office of the
Secretary of Defense.
“[These] six recipients reflect the
patriotism that Bob and Dolores displayed throughout their lives,”
Rhodes said. “They carry on the values that the Hopes represented --
honor, courage, loyalty, commitment, integrity and selfless
dedication -- which are the criteria we place on the award.”
Rhodes praised Hope, who died July 27, 2003, as “an American hero”
and “self-proclaimed ambassador of goodwill.”
“Both Bob and
Dolores Hope will forever hold a special place in the hearts of
Americans,” Rhodes said, “especially with the men and women who
volunteer to wear the uniform of this nation and to defend our
“For decades, they lifted our spirits, brought
smiles to our faces and especially those of American service members
around the world,” he continued. “There are generations of troops
who have stories about when they saw Bob Hope.”
detailed Hope's touring USO shows, which began during World War II
and spanned the Korean, Vietnam and Persian Gulf conflicts.
During his USO tours, Hope was able “to touch the soul and raise the
morale and spirits of individual service members,” Rhodes said.
The U.S. Congress, he added, designated Hope an honorary veteran
in 1997. Rhodes quoted then-President Bill Clinton who lauded Hope
after signing the 1997 legislation: “In times of war and peace, good
times and bad, he entertained our troops and brought them a familiar
and comforting sense of home while they defended our nation's
interests around the world.”
Bob Hope's son, Kelly Hope,
shared his thoughts following the presentation.
grateful to represent my family today, especially at this most
prestigious and wonderful event,” he said.
Kelly Hope praised the
USO for helping his father to reach U.S. troops serving worldwide.
“Without [USO's] support, Dad could not have accomplished the
goal he set out to do -- to bring a little bit of home to those
stationed far away overseas,” he said. “Along with the Spirit of
Hope, may today's deserving recipients grasp and take with them your
best wishes and the spirit of God, who guides us all.”
By Army Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone C. Marshall Jr.
American Forces Press Service
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