2016 Spirit of Hope Award Winners Honored

Story Number: NNS161003-18Release Date: 10/3/2016 11:20:00 AM
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By Petty Officer 3rd Class Tyler Preston, U.S. Fleet Forces Command Public Affairs

ARLINGTON, Va. (NNS) -- Horses Helping Heroes Project was selected as the Navy's nomination for the award amongst other commands' nominees around the fleet. The organization was recognized alongside the other award recipients selected from the Department of Defense and each branch of services' nominations.

"Horses Helping Heroes Project was a perfect candidate for this award," said Capt. Lourdes Neilan, assigned to USFF Maritime Operations Center. "They provide a wonderful service for our local veterans. The dedication and hard work their volunteers have shown for the past six years absolutely live up to the example that Bob Hope left behind."

The Spirit of Hope Award is the namesake award for comedian and actor Bob Hope who was renowned for his patriotism and his participation and contributions to United Service Organization tours. The Award was established in 1997 and is given to armed forces members, entertainers, other distinguished Americans and organizations nominated for patriotism and service that imitates his legacy.

"Each of these honorees epitomizes the values of Bob Hope: duty, honor, courage, loyalty commitment, integrity and selfless dedication," said Robert Work, deputy secretary of defense. "Each has generously offered and contributed an extraordinary amount of their time, talent and resources to enhance the quality of life of service members and their families around the world."

The award is designed to honor recipients from all walks of life from country music star Kellie Pickler, this year's winner nominated by the Office of the Secretary of Defense, to small local charities like HHHP.

"This is a wonderful opportunity to acknowledge a selfless organization that is taking time and effort to help our veterans and it is a pleasure to be able to recognize their outstanding work," said Rear Adm. Robert Girrier, director, Unmanned Warfare Systems, the sponsor representative for the Navy.

The director of HHHP accepted the award for the organization that comprises numerous trained volunteers who work with disabled veterans to help better prepare the veterans for the challenges they face.

"The Horses Helping Heroes Project is grateful for this award and for the acknowledgment of the wonderful team effort that we have going to our veterans," said Debi Demick, director of HHHP.

The other award winners were Ms. Kellie Pickler and Mr. Kyle Jacobs, the Office of the Secretary of Defense's nomination; Col. Jennifer Pritzker (retired), the US Army's nomination; Mr. Marc Tarter, the US Marine Corps' nomination; Mr. Timothy Bryant, the US Air Force's nomination; and Cmdr. Michael Smith (retired), the US Coast Guard's nomination.

Neither the Department of the Navy nor any other component of the Department of Defense has approved, endorsed, or authorized this activity.

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