MARINE CORPS AIR STATION BEAUFORT, SC -- Bob Hope, actor and philanthropist, dedicated more than five decades to the United Services Organizations by entertaining troops at home and abroad during times of war and peace.
His patriotism and dedication to the armed forces contributed to the creation of the Bob Hope Spirit of Hope Award presented annually by the USO.
With Marine Administrative Message 087/04, released by Headquarters Marine Corps on Feb. 27, active duty, reserve, veteran and civilian Marines are now eligible to be nominated for the distinguished award.
“The men and women serving our country deserve our support,” said Edward A. Powell, USO president and chief executive officer.
The USO established the award in 1993 to recognize Americans whose contributions of good citizenship reflected those of USO Ambassador Bob Hope. For more than a decade, it has been presented to individuals who personify the values of men and women serving in the military.
According to MarAdmin 087/04, Marine nominees must exemplify duty, loyalty, and integrity. Any Marine or civilian candidate who has made significant contributions to the Marine Corps must epitomize the religious, spiritual, social, educational and entertainment principles of men and women in the armed forces. Recipients must have contributed themselves selflessly, as Hope did, to any program dedicated to improving the quality of life for Marines.
Overall they must represent the core values of the Marine Corps — honor, courage and commitment.
In the last ten years, the award has been given to several political figures and organizations whom have worked on programs within the USO. Sen. Strom Thurmond was presented the award in 1998 after serving for more than forty years in the senate, making him the oldest and longest serving senator in U.S. History. The United Service Members Automobile Association (USAA) received the award in 2001 after selling cotton candy at local baseball games to raise money for USO programs in Germany.
This year, military nominees must have recommendations submitted, through command channels, to Headquarters Marine Corps no later than April 15. After all nominees have been reviewed, a Naval Message announcing the award recipient will be sent, followed by an award presentation made by the Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. Michael Hagee or a representative from the Hope family.
When recipients are presented with the award they receive a plaque covered with a raised projection of Bob Hope performing at an USO tour.
“I was inspired to create the bas-relief of Bob Hope from the confidence, honor, loyalty, and integrity he radiated to raise the spirits of thousands of service men and women,” said Don F. Wiegand, bas-relief creator. “I wanted to say ‘thank you’ to Hope and all of the volunteers who are the heart and soul of the USO.”
For more information, log on to www.americanhope.com or email Greg Gordon, Headquarters Marine Corps POC, at firstname.lastname@example.org