Cynthia Martinez, Founder of non-profit military outreach Words of Comfort, Hope, and Promise accepts military’s “Spirit of Hope Award” during special ceremony at the Pentagon in Arlington VA on October 28th, 2008.
Press release article from San Clemente, CA Written by Nancy Ramirez onNovember 11, 2008
“Spirit of Hope” Alive and Well in Southern California
On Tuesday, October 28, 2008 Cynthia Martinez, founder and president of Words of Comfort, Hope & Promise based in San Clemente, California was honored at a Pentagon ceremony with the Marine Corps 2007 “Armed Forces Spirit of Hope Award” for her selfless contributions to the improvement of the quality of life for Marines and their families. Martinez, unknowingly competing against deserving nominees from other commands worldwide, was nominated for the award by Lt. Col. A. McClean II, Commander, 3D Air Assault Amphibian Battalion and Sgt. Maj. Michael Kufchak.
The Spirit of Hope Award honors Bob Hope’s values of duty, honor, loyalty, commitment, integrity and selfless dedication, according to the award’s originator, Michael Fagin. The award recognizes individuals or organizations who have “selflessly contributed an extraordinary amount of time, talent or resources to significantly enhance the quality of life of service members around the world.”
Under the banner of the United Service Organizations, Bob Hope gave generously and tirelessly to American service members, traveling the world to entertain them wherever they were stationed. He began his five-decade mission with his first USO show in 1941 at March Field, California and concluded with a USO tour entertaining forces in the Persian Gulf in 1990. In November 1997, Bob Hope was designated the first and only Honorary Veteran of the U.S. Armed forces, an honor bestowed on him by the U.S. Congress and signed into law by President Bill Clinton. Mr. Hope passed away in 2003, just two months after his 100th birthday.
In a Joint ceremony at the Pentagon, Maj. Gen. Timothy R. Larson, USMC-Ret. presented Mrs. Martinez with the prestigious award following remarks by Mr. Harvey Barnum, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Reserve Affairs. Mr. Barnum read from the Award Nomination summary written by Lt. Col. McClean and Sgt. Maj. Kufchak: “Cynthia Martinez has said that her mission is to bring comfort and support to all deployed Marines and Sailors, and their families. Her initiative and drive are demonstrated in her founding of ‘Words of Comfort, Hope & Promise,’ an organization dedicated to supporting deployed personnel and their families.
Since the summer of 2005, Mrs. Martinez has worked tirelessly to coordinate welcome-home events, holiday parties and other celebrations for Marines and Sailors and their families. She organized entertainment, food, prizes, activities and gifts for thousands of people. Her events provided much-needed relaxation and social opportunities for deployed Marines and Sailors and their families, and truly created moments that will never be forgotten. Cynthia’s devotion and dedication have significantly added to the quality of life of Marines and their families. She has shown support and reassured spouses during uncertain times. She has made great personal sacrifices so that military families may receive first-class treatment during holidays. She is indeed a rare example of selflessness in today’s society.”
Immediately upon receiving The Spirit of Hope Award Medallion, Mrs. Martinez was then further honored with a bronze lapel pin bearing a miniature of the bas-relief of Bob Hope, presented by Mr. Hope’s granddaughter, Miranda Hope-Smith.
Don F. Wiegand of Wiegand Studios, St. Louis Missouri created and sculpted the life-sized bas-relief of Bob Hope, which is widely recognize as the legacy icon of the beloved actor-comedian and the enduring meaning of his work. The Wiegand Foundation, Inc., is a non-profit organization which administers the Spirit of Hope Award program. Bas-reliefs, minted by Medallic Art Company of Dayton, Nevada are gifted to each recipient of The Spirit of Hope Award.
Mrs. Martinez and her organization have adopted several battalions of Marines and their families from Camp Pendleton, and are gearing up to send out “care packages” to the Marines serving in Iraq as well as providing appreciation luncheons here at home for their families, including gifts and door prizes. Those interested in supporting these efforts may contact her by phone at (949) 637-7615 or by visiting her website at www.comforthopeandpromise.org.
San Clemente Times Nov. 20-26, 2008
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Cynthia Martinez Citizen Of The Day
The Sunpost Newspaper in San Clemente nominated Cynthia for "Citizen of The Day" on December 4,2007.
Citizen of the Day: Cynthia Martinez COD: Cynthia Martinez is the founder and president of Words of Comfort, Hope & Promise.
PAUL BERSEBACH, SUN POST NEWS
Citizen of the Day: Cynthia Martinez
Spreading hope and cheer year-round. A Christmas party is next on the list for Marines.
MIKI CUMMING FOR SUN POST NEWS
The old adage "Give someone who's busy a job to do, and it will be done," certainly applies to Cynthia Martinez. She's a ball of fire when it comes to getting things accomplished. And the results bring love and appreciation from the people who most benefit. In this case, it's the Marines at Camp Pendleton who are the recipients.
"My mission is to encourage the community, the churches, and the civic leaders to unite as Americans to support our troops."
Saturday November 24, 2007 Orange County Register
Saturday, November 24, 2007
TO THE TROOPS,
Cookies bring a sense of home for the holidays
MINDY SCHAUER, THE ORANGE COUNTYREGISTER
San Clemente group packs up 15,000 cookies in care packages for troops.
ASSEMBLY LINE: Word of Comfort, Hope and Promise, a military-outreach organization founded by Cynthia Martinez, second from left, puts together packages for those serving in Iraq.
MESSAGE FOR MARINE: A postcard thanking a Marine will be included in his care package. Volunteers assembled the boxes which included homemade cookies and blankets.
About 60 volunteers assembled care packages Saturday for members of the Marines and the Army National Guard who are serving in Iraq.
“Words of Comfort, Hope and Promise” is a military-outreach organization that adopts battalions of servicemen and women and also supports families at home.
On Saturday, volunteers put together 227 packages that included about 15,000 homemade cookies, other snacks and toiletries, said the group's founder, Cynthia Martinez of San Clemente. An Irvine Girl Scout troop supplied about 13,000 of the 15,000 cookies.
GETTING READY TO SHIP OUT: Word of Comfort, Hope and Promise, a military-outreach organization boxes up goods, including homemade cookies and blankets to National Guardsmen who are deployed in Iraq.
TALL ORDER: Volunteer Douglas White rolls out care packages that will be shipped to military in Iraq in time for the holidays.
Friday November 9, 2007 Sun Post News
Friday, November 9, 2007
Women join forces to support troops
Donations are needed for upcoming events at CampPendleton.
By BARBARA POTTER
Sun Post News
Three years ago some women in the "Splash Club," a water aerobics class at the Ole Hanson pool, discovered they had more in common than doing the butterfly stroke – they all liked to knit 1, purl 2 and yarn over.
Naming their group the Knitt Witts, the expert knitters have formed a small ministry by purchasing yarn and making items for Marines and their families at CampPendleton.
"We wanted to do something for the war effort," Gloria Densham said. "We know the items are helpful and it's something we love to do."
The Knitt Witts - Dodie Beauchamp, Gina Brewington, Peggy Chaply, Gloria Densham, Shirley Ferguson, Barbara Goldstein, Margo Grube, Carol Hagedorn and Carol Tengdin – have kept their knitting needles clicking by making colorful baby blankets and caps for expectant mothers at CampPendleton for the Baby Boot Camp program.
Using camouflage yarn, the knitters have also made and shipped 5 dozen caps to Marines serving in Iraq. The Marines say they wear them under their helmets to keep out moisture in the hot and humid weather.
In networking fashion, the Knitt Witts have recently connected with Cynthia Martinez, founder of Words of Comfort, Hope & Promise, a nonprofit group dedicated to bringing support to military service men and women and their families.
"When one of the Marines returned from Iraq he told me that one of the best gifts he and the others received was blankets to keep them warm in the cold winter nights," Martinez said.
Not one to be deterred by a huge project, Martinez purchased 30 bolts of camouflage fleece – 2,000 yards – and set out to find people to make them.
"We have asked woman in churches and groups to help us make more than 800 blankets," she said.
So adding to their knitting projects, the Knitt Witts, who meet on Tuesdays at the San Clemente home of Margo Grube, now also sew blankets to match the knitted caps.
"It's a real sisterhood," said Shirley Ferguson.
From San Diego to Yorba Linda, Martinez said women are sewing and knitting.
"We appreciate their labor of love in supporting our troops," she said. "They are angels."
How to donate
To continue in her crusade to help support those serving in our military, Martinez is also preparing to deliver more than 500 goody bags to Marines who will be deployed on December and January to Iraq. She said snacks and items to fill the bags are needed and if local businesses or individuals want to donate, they can call her at 949-637-7615.
Words of Comfort, Hope & Promise will also hold its annual Christmas party on Dec. 15 for Marines and their families at CampPendleton. Ms. America, Jane Park Smith, is planning to attend the event.
For Gloria Densham, delivering the baby caps and blankets at CampPendleton is "a pleasure."
"The gals and even some of the guys give us hugs. They treat us like queens. It's so lovely," she said.
If you would like to help with Words of Comfort, Hope & Promise call Cynthia Martinez at 949/637-7615. And if you are interested in knitting caps and baby blankets or would like to donate yarn, call Gloria Densham at 949/493-7895.
May 24, 2007 San Clemente Times
PAINTING BY MARY MCMENAMIN
5/24/07 Eye on SC Freedom Fighters From: Vol. 2, Issue 21, May 24-30, 2007
By Nathan Wright San Clemente Times
Painting "Our Marine Family" By Mary McMenamin
Through nonprofit efforts and public observances, San Clemente bands together to remind people of the true meaning of Memorial Day.
Memorial Day means different things to different people. For some, it’s a day to remember fallen soldiers, veterans and those currently serving in the United States military. For others it’s a day off from work, a barbeque or a long-weekend getaway. It’s a time of flags flown from neighborhood porches and of long lines at local grocery stores. However the individual decides to observe Monday’s Memorial Day, Camp Pendleton Chief of Staff Col. Stewart Navarre believes that all should take a moment to consider the significance of the national holiday and everything it represents.
“Each of us should think about what our fellow Americans have done, whether it’s back in Valley Forge, or in the Civil War, or in the World Wars,” says Navarre. “I think we should take some time, step back and consider what America would be like if these folks hadn’t done what needed to be done. Remember those who either merely served or those who gave the ultimate sacrifice to preserve this country against bona fide enemies.”
For those looking to involve themselves in Memorial Day beyond the backyard barbeque, San Clemente is home to both ceremony and support to the nation’s past and present military. A Memorial Day Observance and a Marine Corps Music Fest will be held on Monday to honor and celebrate, and two local nonprofit groups are hard at work providing welcome and support to returning soldiers from the Middle East and to Marines in need of help.
Words of Comfort, Hope & Promise is one of those nonprofits. It’s holding a welcome home party for the 2nd Battalion 4th Marines on June 14 at CampPendleton. The party will include a barbeque, entertainment for the Marines and their families, and gifts. “We’re going to have the Surfaris playing ‘Wipeout,’ clowns to entertain the children, and we’re going to give gifts to all the troops, their wives and their children,” says Cynthia Martinez, president and founder of the organization.
Martinez can use all the help she can get. The 2nd Battalion 4th Marines includes 1,200 soldiers who are accompanied by 400 wives and 300 children. The nonprofit is well on its way to planning the event for the 1,900 invited, but Martinez is still looking for gifts and other donations to help make it happen.
Navarre and all those at CampPendleton welcome the party warmly. The return from a long deployment is, according to Navarre, “kind of like a family celebrating a birthday. It’s a recognition that the public feels that you are important and we are glad to have you home. Literally this is like having your child come home from college after a year, except the soldiers have been exposed to danger every single day.” While Martinez is preparing her party, another San Clemente resident is raising money to help support injured Marines and their families through financially difficult times.
James Birdsell’s Miles for Marines hopes to raise $100,000 by this Memorial Day, and the funds will be donated to the Injured Marines Semper Fi Fund, a national charity that provides assistance to Marines injured in combat or training, to families enduring financial burdens from the extended hospitalization, recovery and rehabilitation of an injured Marine, or to affiliated service members injured while supporting the Marines.
“I didn’t know any Marines when I started this project,” says Birdsell. “This is our time to step up and help. Generations prior to us have always done something when military struggles have come up. It doesn’t matter what your political beliefs are, it’s more about caring and loving one another.”
Miles for Marines isn’t simply looking for a handout. It provides interested community members with the opportunity to hold their own small charity events. “We recently had an outrigger paddle from Catalina to Dana Point and that raised about $1,000,” says Birdsell. “We’ve had a 5K bike ride from San Clemente to San Diego, and that raised between $1,000 and $2,000. We’ve had a 5K run inPhiladelphia that raised a few thousand dollars.”
By running a personal charity event, Birdsell says, the community is able to take ownership of their contribution to a bigger cause. “This whole project has been an opportunity for people to express themselves in any way they want,” he says. “Instead of just writing a check, once you get involved and step outside of yourself to help others you get a deeper appreciation for what you’re doing.”
No matter what event or cause supported, Navarre is proud of his community for its support of the troops who make Camp Pendleton their home. “ San Clemente has a real commitment to fellow Americans in uniform and in honoring those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for their country,” says Navarre. “This community has always been very welcoming to the young men and women in uniform who have come here. I think San Clemente is a real example to the nation of how we treat others as fellow Americans.”
City of San Clemente Magazine Fall 2007
San Clemente Kiwanis volenteers cook a taste barbecue for the Marines.
San Clemente Adopted Unit 2/4 Marines received a warm welcome home on June 14, 2007. They returned home from their most recent deployment in Iraq.
President/Founder Cynthia Martinez and Colonel Lawrence Nicholson at the 2/4 Marines Welcome Home Event.
The event organized by Words of Comfort, Hope & Promise, a non profit organization run by Cynthia Martinez, included a welcome home barbecue held at CampPendleton’s beach to celebrate them and their family members. Many local organizations volunteered to sponsor the surf-themed event “Surf City Here We Come” to make it a huge success, including the City of San Clemente, The Heritage of San Clemente Foundation, San Clemente Kiwanis, Corner Stone Church, Church On The Rock, Living Hope Christian Fellowship, Heritage Christian Fellowship, and many other generous groups and individuals. The homecoming, celebrated on Flag Day, included a flag ceremony with the troops and community holding up a 95 foot flag singing “God Bless America” along with 3 cobra helicopters demonstrating their support by conducting a fly over.
The community and troops hold up a 95 foot flag and sing "God Bless America".
The troops, their wives and their children enjoyed live entertainment by The Surfari's, patriotic singers, clowns and talking birds, and food of all types served by all the non-profits and churches that participated. And, in addition to exciting door prizes, all of the troops and their family members received gifts. For more information about the military out reach group, Words of Comfort, Hope & Promise call 949/637-7615, or log onto www.comforthopeandpromise.org
Thursday, December 21, 2006 Sun Post News
Thursday, December 21, 2006
Party Honors Military Families
Debbie Nicholson, wife of Col. Nicholson, center, chats with other Marine wives of Headquarters 5th Regiment. Each wife received a gift basket at the event.
WORDS Of COMFORT, HOPE & PROMISE
Bring joy to those serving our country.
By BARBARA POTTER
SUN POST NEWS
Some Camp Pendleton Marines who are serving in Iraq will get to see their families on Christmas Day.
A video that was taken at a recent holiday party of their wives and children has been sent to them.
"We have adopted the 5th Regiment and we wanted to support our troops, so we threw their families a huge party and took videos of it," said Cynthia Martinez, the founder and president of Words of Comfort, Hope & Promise.
Marines from the 5th Regiment Headquarters
As in the past, the San Clemente woman, along with her many volunteers, held a holiday party for about 400 men, women and children on Dec. 9. The event was held at the San Onofre Community Center at Camp Pendleton. Along with a surprise visit by Santa, who handed out bundles of toys to the children, Deborah Nelson, the current Ms. America, also joined in the festivities.
Deborah Nelson, Ms. America 2006-2007, also attended the event, helping to hand out gifts to the children.
A tradional Christmas dinner was catered and the band from the Church On The Rock sang Christmas carols. Martinez said that with help from the community and local churches – Church on the Rock, San Juan Capistrano; Foothill Family Church, Lake Forest; Life Church, Mission Viejo; Calvary South Church, San Juan Capistrano and Trinity Broadcast Network – "it was a huge success."
Members from the FoothillFamilyChurch in Lake Forest helped served dinner to all the guests.
"We had some overflow of toys, so we were able to provide them to another Battalion and to the Army National Guard," she said.
After 9/11, Martinez formed the nonprofit organization. She has said that God called her "into action to bring comfort, hope and support to our country and our military men and women."
Today her nonprofit organization has grown into a full-time ministry. Throughout the year, Martinez plans and holds parties for Marines who have been deployed and for those who have returned home. She also gathers items and sends care packages to those serving overseas.
If you would like to make a donation, call Martinez at 949/637-7615.
Sunday, November 26, 2006 Orange County Register
RYAN HODGSON-RIGSBEE, THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER Sunday, November 26, 2006
This is the second year Girl Scouts have sent cookies to Iraq before the holidays.
TREATS FOR TROOPS: Susan Masterson drops off a bag of cookies as Judi Chimits, leader of Girl Scout Troop 1045, marks the drop off down and Daniela Barboza, 10, takes them from her during an effort among all the Irvine troops to send cookies to 1,500 Pendleton Marines in Iraq.
Irvine Girl Scouts send treats for the troops
By JEFF ROWETHE ORANGE COUNTYREGISTER IRVINE
Servicemen and women in Iraq soon will receive thousands of homemade cookies, thanks to the baking of several Irvine Girl Scout troops and the efforts of a San Clemente-based military support group.
Scouts collected almost 9,000 cookies Saturday morning – all baked by girls in several Irvine troops. Last year, the scouts baked 3,500 cookies for those stationed in Iraq.
In all, about 120 girls participated in the campaign, said Judi Chimits, Girl Scout troop 1045 leader. The scouts' cookies were added to about 6,000 cookies and other snacks collected from churches and other organizations by Words of Comfort, Hope and Promise, a military outreach group founded by Cynthia Martinez. She mailed the bounty in 312 boxes – total postal bill: $2,528.55. About 3,000 Christmas cards from scouts, schools, church groups and other organizations also were included in the mailing.
Martinez said the goodies should arrive in Iraq this week and be distributed to the troops.
This is the second year for the cookie drive sponsored by Words of Comfort, which now is planning a Christmas party for spouses and families of CampPendleton servicemen and women stationed in Iraq.
The group plans to host 350-400 families and needs toys for children and gift baskets for the military wives.
It will be the third year for the Christmas party, which is expected to be double the size of last year's event.
CAMPPENDLETON – In the barracks, the women were putting red, white and blue goodie bags on pillows for returning Marines. Not just a few bags, but 700.They were filled with candies and a welcome-home message rolled up in a little scroll and tied with a yellow ribbon. The message began, "Dear Marine, There's no place like home. Welcome back to America." At the end was a short Bible verse and the message, "We care about you."
It's not the first time Cynthia Martinez and her volunteer team of friends and family have reached out to Marines at CampPendleton. Martinez has been set on supporting troops and their families since the first deployments to Afghanistan after 9/11.
"I've got two sons the age of these young men, and God put a passion in my heart to reach out to the troops," said Martinez, whose husband is a retired Army sergeant.
Martinez, who lives in San Clemente, has rounded up support from community leaders, civic groups, businesses and church groups, in the San Clemente area and other communities north of the base. For her efforts, Martinez was named one of six “Women of the Year 2005” last month by Sen. Bill Morrow for the 38th Senatorial District, which includes north San DiegoCounty and south OrangeCounty.
In December, Martinez helped collect more than 200 toys for two Christmas parties for CampPendleton children, and then sent pictures of the people who supported the toy drive to the children's dads, or moms, serving in Iraq. "We just wanted to show them that the community cares about them," said Martinez, founder of Words of Comfort, Hope and Promise.
The nonprofit group is set on bringing comfort and encouragement to the troops. Not just in words, but in deeds, with care packages for deployed Marines and gift baskets and gift certificates for their wives left behind. For Valentines Day, Martinez and a group of volunteers sent care packages with hundreds of home-baked cookies to two companies in the 2nd Battalion, 5th Marine Division.
Last month she coordinated a recognition dinner for about 20 wounded Marines. "I was so honored to shake their hands and give them the “Certificate of Appreciation" Martinez said.
One of her biggest projects was sending her book, "America in Crisis," to 4,000 Marines in Iraq two years ago. The book talks about the power of prayer and includes prayers for the troops and the nation.
"I heard of people living in fear of the terrorists threats, and I wanted to bring comfort," Martinez said. Martinez felt inspiredto write the book after 9/11 and to reach out to the troops in tangible ways.
"What's special is she's focused on both the troops and us wives staying behind," said Lisa Wright, whose husband is in one of the divisions supported by Martinez's group. "Her heart is so full of wanting to do this." For information about Martinez's nonprofit organizations, Words of Comfort, Hope and Promise, go to www.comforthopeandpromise.org or call (949) 637-7615.