By Nick Simeone
DoD News, Defense Media Activity
WASHINGTON, Dec. 11, 2014 – Fourteen individuals including a group of former New York City firefighters were honored by the Department of Defense with the Spirit of Hope Award today, named after the legendary entertainer Bob Hope to recognize selfless service and a dedicated commitment to the military.
“It’s the academy awards for those who have excelled in giving,” said Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James, who hosted the annual Pentagon ceremony. “Reading your stories I can’t help but be reminded of the power of one. Bob Hope recognized this too.”
Those honored were nominated by the four military branches, the Coast Guard and the Office of Secretary of Defense for actions “whose patriotism and service to members of the U.S. armed forces reflects the patriotism and service of Bob Hope,” the comedian and actor who spent decades traveling the world entertaining deployed troops.
Those honored today were:
-- The Vigiano Group, nominated by the Office of Secretary of Defense: Eight former members of the Fire Department of New York and former Marines who experienced personal tragedy during the terrorist attacks of 9/11. The group takes its name in honor of New York City policeman Joseph Vigiano and his firefighter brother John, both of whom were killed in the collapse of the Twin Towers. The Vigiano Group was awarded for dedicating the last 10 years to supporting Wounded Warriors at Walter Reed Medical Center and the National Naval Medical Center.
-- Joyce W. Massenburg, nominated by the Army: Awarded for developing command climate surveys during the tour of three separate quartermaster generals which aided in prioritizing efforts to boost morale of soldiers. For 17 years, she served with a community service organization that provided economic development, health and physical awareness training, and participated annually in the Soldiers Walk for Hunger and other events. Her contributions extended to all Army personnel through her lead role in developing an Army human relations response course.
-- Marjorie L. and Arthur P. Miller, nominated by the Marine Corps: Awarded for volunteerism at Navy and Marine Corps bases around the world, enhancing programs benefitting service personnel and their families with a special focus on child care and recreational services.
-- Jaspen Boothe, president, Final Salute Incorporated, nominated by the Navy: Awarded for providing housing and other services to homeless women and veterans.
-- Victor M. Pulido, a retired Air Force technical sergeant, nominated by the Air Force: Awarded for his work with community and base organizations to enhance the quality of life of service personnel and their families as well as for providing meals to homeless and needy families.
-- Robert Powers, nominated by the Coast Guard: Creator of the American 300 Foundation, a service that connects members of the military with other Americans. Powers was awarded for bringing vital messages of resiliency and appreciation to military personnel who have faced some of the most challenging and stressful situations imaginable. American 300 tours have visited hundreds of bases and units, most of which have seen combat or operate in isolated and remote locations around the world.