By Sgt. Zoe GarbarinoOctober 10, 2019
The Spirit of Hope award was established in 1997 when Bob Hope received it for his contributions to U.S. Soldiers over five decades. The Department of Defense presents the award each year to individuals who display Hope's selfless service, boost the morale and well-being of Soldiers, and go to extraordinary measures to contribute to service members.
Cindy Boyd, president of Precision Contracting Services Inc. in Florida, received the Spirit of Hope award September 28, 2019 for the work she has done for the Army community.
"To be mentioned in the same sentence as Bob Hope is overwhelming," said Boyd. "It is beyond anything I can imagine to be compared to somebody like that, to think I have those traits and I embody that character; it feels humbling. Ten of my Soldiers came to see me receive this award. To have their support and see how much they care about someone that isn't their family is what keeps me going."
It all began when her nephew joined the Army in 2007. She met a few of his "battle buddies" and began sponsoring them. She has followed them throughout their career for the last 12 years and gained more Soldiers along the way.
"I began sending care packages, hosting dinners and participating in Wreaths Across America every year in Arlington [Virginia]," said Boyd. "I've also bought plane tickets for Soldiers to return home and brought 37 Soldiers to NASCAR races in Tennessee since 2010."
Sgt. 1st Class Brian Andrade, a first sergeant assigned to 5th Squadron, 7th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, submitted Boyd for the Spirit of Hope award. He has known Boyd since 2011 when they met through one of her nephew's Soldiers. Andrade said she sent care packages while his unit was deployed and made handmade quilts for single Soldiers when they get home to their barracks room.
"She has become a part of our personal lives," said Andrade. "She keeps track of big promotions and ceremonies, children's births, weddings; any event that any of us have, she attends all of them. She's a phenomenal person."
Boyd said the thank you that touched her heart the most was a Soldier who was hit with an improvised explosive device in 2010. He came back and didn't have anyone to come back to. She was there when he went to the hospital, when he was discharged and when he went through several surgeries.
"When he got out of the hospital and went back to Fort Campbell [Kentucky], he said, 'I have something for you,'" said Boyd. "He gave me his Purple Heart. I was in tears and told him I could not accept it. He told me I was the closest thing he had to a mother. I graciously took it and told him if you ever wanted it back, just ask. The Army ended up giving him another Purple Heart. But how do you replace that feeling, how do you justify 'the closest thing I ever had to a mother?' It spoke volumes to me."
Boyd has been there for all her Soldiers. Andrade said he was able to take his Family to Disney World with the help of Boyd and she helps anyone else who may need it.
"I don't ever plan to stop giving back to the Army community," said Boyd. "The Soldiers have become a part of my life and many of them consider me part of their Family and they are part of mine. It's a very humbling thing to do. It's an honor to be in their presence and has become a huge part of my life."