“Spirit of Hope” Alive and Well in Southern California
Press release article from San Clemente, CA | Written by Nancy Ramirez
On Tuesday, October 28, 2008 Cynthia Martinez, founder and president of Words of Comfort, Hope & Promise based in San Clemente, California was honored at a Pentagon ceremony with the Marine Corps 2007 “Armed Forces Spirit of Hope Award” for her selfless contributions to the improvement of the quality of life for Marines and their families. Martinez, unknowingly competing against deserving nominees from other commands worldwide, was nominated for the award by Lt. Col. A. McClean II, Commander, 3D Air Assault Amphibian Battalion and Sgt. Maj. Michael Kufchak.
The Spirit of Hope Award honors Bob Hope’s values of duty, honor, loyalty, commitment, integrity and selfless dedication, according to the award’s originator, Michael Fagin. The award recognizes individuals or organizations who have “selflessly contributed an extraordinary amount of time, talent or resources to significantly enhance the quality of life of service members around the world.”
Under the banner of the United Service Organizations, Bob Hope gave generously and tirelessly to American service members, traveling the world to entertain them wherever they were stationed. He began his five-decade mission with his first USO show in 1941 at March Field, California and concluded with a USO tour entertaining forces in the Persian Gulf in 1990. In November 1997, Bob Hope was designated the first and only Honorary Veteran of the U.S. Armed forces, an honor bestowed on him by the U.S. Congress and signed into law by President Bill Clinton. Mr. Hope passed away in 2003, just two months after his 100th birthday.
In a Joint ceremony at the Pentagon, Maj. Gen. Timothy R. Larson, USMC-Ret. presented Mrs. Martinez with the prestigious award following remarks by Mr. Harvey Barnum, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Reserve Affairs. Mr. Barnum read from the Award Nomination summary written by Lt. Col. McClean and Sgt. Maj. Kufchak: “Cynthia Martinez has said that her mission is to bring comfort and support to all deployed Marines and Sailors, and their families. Her initiative and drive are demonstrated in her founding of ‘Words of Comfort, Hope & Promise,’ an organization dedicated to supporting deployed personnel and their families.
Since the summer of 2005, Mrs. Martinez has worked tirelessly to coordinate welcome-home events, holiday parties and other celebrations for Marines and Sailors and their families. She organized entertainment, food, prizes, activities and gifts for thousands of people. Her events provided much-needed relaxation and social opportunities for deployed Marines and Sailors and their families, and truly created moments that will never be forgotten. Cynthia’s devotion and dedication have significantly added to the quality of life of Marines and their families. She has shown support and reassured spouses during uncertain times. She has made great personal sacrifices so that military families may receive first-class treatment during holidays. She is indeed a rare example of selflessness in today’s society.”
Immediately upon receiving The Spirit of Hope Award Medallion, Mrs. Martinez was then further honored with a bronze lapel pin bearing a miniature of the bas-relief of Bob Hope, presented by Mr. Hope’s granddaughter, Miranda Hope-Smith.
Don F. Wiegand of Wiegand Studios, St. Louis Missouri created and sculpted the life-sized bas-relief of Bob Hope, which is widely recognize as the legacy icon of the beloved actor-comedian and the enduring meaning of his work. The Wiegand Foundation, Inc., is a non-profit organization which administers the Spirit of Hope Award program. Bas-reliefs, minted by Medallic Art Company of Dayton, Nevada are gifted to each recipient of The Spirit of Hope Award.
Mrs. Martinez and her organization have adopted several battalions of Marines and their families from Camp Pendleton, and are gearing up to send out “care packages” to the Marines serving in Iraq as well as providing appreciation luncheons here at home for their families, including gifts and door prizes. Those interested in supporting these efforts may contact her by phone at (949) 637-7615 or by visiting her website at www.comforthopeandpromise.org.
November 11, 2008