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Pope Airman awarded DOD’s ‘Spirit of Hope’

Recipients of the 2015 Department of Defense Spirit of Hope Award pose for a photo with Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Paul F. Zukunft, right, who presided over the award ceremony at the Pentagon Oct. 16, 2015. Left to right, the recipients are a representative who accepted the award for country music star Toby Keith, nominated by the Office of the Secretary of Defense and the Joint Staff; Dana Hinesly, nominated by the Army; a representative of the Quantico Injured Military Sportsmen Association, nominated by the Marine Corps; Tech. Sgt. Rebecca Martin, nominated by the Air Force; Sandra Lehmkuhler, nominated by the Navy; and Suzanne Maas, nominated by the Coast Guard. (U.S. Coast Guard photo/Petty Officer 2nd Class Patrick Kelley)

Recipients of the 2015 Department of Defense Spirit of Hope Award pose for a photo with Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Paul F. Zukunft, right, who presided over the award ceremony at the Pentagon Oct. 16, 2015. Left to right, the recipients are a representative who accepted the award for country music star Toby Keith, nominated by the Office of the Secretary of Defense and the Joint Staff; Dana Hinesly, nominated by the Army; a representative of the Quantico Injured Military Sportsmen Association, nominated by the Marine Corps; Tech. Sgt. Rebecca Martin, nominated by the Air Force; Sandra Lehmkuhler, nominated by the Navy; and Suzanne Maas, nominated by the Coast Guard. (U.S. Coast Guard photo/Petty Officer 2nd Class Patrick Kelley)

POPE ARMY AIRFIELD, N.C. (AFNS) -- An Airman from Pope Army Airfield was honored by the Defense Department during a ceremony Oct. 16 at the Pentagon where she received the 2015 Spirit of Hope Award, named after the legendary entertainer Bob Hope to recognize selfless service and a dedicated commitment to the military.

Tech. Sgt. Rebeca Martin, assigned to the U.S. Air Force Combat Control School, was selected as the Air Force's nominee for the award in April for her outstanding service as an aircraft flight equipment NCO in charge while assigned to the 352nd Special Operations Support Squadron at Roayal Air Force Mildenhall, England.

"What jumps out at me is her selflessness and her dedication to helping people with the sheer number of things she tries to do, and how much time and effort she puts in," said Martin's former commander, Lt. Col. Scott Hartman, the 352nd SOSS commander. "She epitomizes honor, courage and loyalty -- you can see that in how she holds herself and she's a fantastic NCO and is definitely a role model for everyone she works with."

Martin, an active-duty Airman, wife, mother of three children and a full-time student, was recognized for donating more than 1,100 hours of her time. She used her personal resources and while working with 18 community and base-wide organizations and committees helping service members and their families, while strengthening bonds with the local community.

"I try to help whenever I can,” Martin said. “I try to live up to a wise man's teachings that if you can give, give generously.”

Her sense of service, she said, was instilled by her father, an Army veteran who served during the Korean War and who was in attendance at the Pentagon ceremony.

Martin was the sole registration school lead for the 2014 Joan Mann Special Sports Day, a Special Olympics event sponsored by U.S. service members stationed in the U.K. Her direct involvement enabled over 400 British special needs athletes and providers to attend. It was the largest turnout in the 33 years since its inception.

She also assisted several organizations by leading drives and soliciting donations, to include women and child domestic violence shelter and safe houses, Airmen food pantry and Airman's closet, hospice charity shops, and orphanages in Lithuania and Croatia. Her energy is spent on working with local agencies to help improve, provide and enhance the families of service members and civilians.

The Spirit of Hope Award is presented annually for outstanding service to the U.S. Each service nominates one person for the award, which is awarded to men and women of the U.S. armed forces, entertainers and other distinguished Americans and organizations whose patriotism and service reflect that of Bob Hope.

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