A leading charity that helps combat-injured Marines received a Spirit of Hope Award Nov. 19 at a Pentagon ceremony in which all branches of service were recognized.
The Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund and four individuals nominated by their respective services earned the award for patriotism and service reflecting the essence of Bob Hope’s dedication to those in the Armed Forces.
“In addition to those in uniform, the four individuals and one organization we honor with this year’s Spirit of Hope Award have by their actions proven worthy of that wonderful feeling of having paid for their little slice of freedom,” said Army Chief of Staff Gen. George W. Casey Jr.
Casey presented the awards to Army, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard nominees before recognizing this year’s only organization bestowed with the honor.
Founder and executive director Karen Guenther, a registered nurse and a Marine wife, and co-founder Wendy Lethin accepted the award on behalf of the Marine Corps charity, which was founded in 2004.
The Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund gives financial assistance to hospitalized, rehabilitating and recovering Marines injured in combat and training. The charity also runs mobility and home modification programs for purchases such as innovative wheel chairs and remodeling homes to offset disabilities.
The charity also has given over 5,600 grants totaling over $15 million in assistance to the military's wounded heroes and families.
This assistance helps with immediate financial needs and perpetuating needs, such as modified transportation, home modifications, and specialized equipment.
As the commander for Marine Corps Forces Central Command, Gen. James N. Mattis nominated the charity for its outstanding support for injured Marines and families during the war.
The Spirit of Hope award was established by the Hope Family Foundation in 1997 in honor of Bob Hope, who died in 2003.