Country artist Michael Peterson is the recipient of this year’s Bob Hope ‘Spirit of Hope’ Award, thereby recognized for his dedication and continued contributions to the troops of the United States Armed Forces.
The Spirit of Hope award is presented annually to distinguish ed Americans whose patriotism and service to the troops reflects that of Bob Hope. Commissioned by the USO in November 1997, the award was name after Hope, who at that time was designated as the first and only honorary veteran of the United States Armed Forces for his decades of entertaining troops, both in peacetime and in combat zones. Hope symbolized the idea that America cared about and supported its troops, and he remains the USO’s “Ambassador of Good Will.”
The award was given to Peterson at a ceremony held at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. in late October. Other notable winners of the award in the past include the Country Music Association, CBS news anchor Walter Cronkite, the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders, and former astronaut John Glenn.
“The men and women in uniform who serve our nation selflessly with honor and integrity are inspiring to be around,” said Peterson upon receiving the award. “For decades, Bob Hope saluted them with entertainment and encouragement from home. Because of Mr. Hope’s sacrifice and service, today’s entertainers have the same opportunity. I am grateful for this recognition and the privilege of being associated with his legacy.”
Peterson completed the U.S. Army sponsored ‘My Real Life – Strong For America Tour’ earlier this year. In addition to performing, the singer introduced various programs and services at each stop of the tour that empowered students to make great choices and provided civic leaders and businesses with new strategies for contributing to their local communities. A live concert headlined by Peterson concluded each week’s events.
The former collegiate football star continues his support of the troops with a series of overseas dates during the holidays. He will also perform for U.S. Army Chief Of Staff General George W. Casey Jr. in my old stomping grounds, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on December 5th at the Union League of Philadelphia, prior to the annual Army-Navy football game.
Peterson first arrived on the country music scene in 1997 with the success of his self-titled debut album, which produced such hits as Drink, Swear, Steal & Lie which reached number 3 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks chart (now Hot Country Songs)and From Here To Eternity which made it all the way to number one. The album was certified gold by the RIAA, and ultimately generated a total of five hit singles on the Billboard charts. In addition, he was recognized as country music’s top selling new male artist by Billboard and R&R in that same year.
Peterson, a great ambassador for country music industry, has also contributed his time to other charities such as The Ronald McDonald House, the Special Olympics, and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
The USO is a Congressionally chartered, nonprofit organization, that is not a government agency, but rather is funded by many national corporations and other private contributors. For more information on the USO, call 1-800-876-7469 or visit their Web site, www.uso.org.