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Family and friends honor a local hero – ‘Able Forces’ Skip Rogers

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‘The Spirit of Hope’ recipient Skip Rogers, holding the medal, is joined by reception organizers Lisa  Salomon(daughter), Steve Carter, Joe Cunningham, and wife Kathy Rogers. Courtesy Photos/Shawna Ryan

Front Royal’s Skip Rogers, who last month received “The Spirit of Hope” award for his work and contributions to U.S. armed forces members and veterans at the Pentagon’s Hall of Heroes, was saluted by friends and family at a reception in Delaplane, Virginia, October 7.

Rogers operates a unique non-profit called “Able Forces” on Chester Street. “Able Forces” has assisted more than 3,000 wounded, ill and injured service members and veterans into stable employment; as well as financially supported military families in need. Among its programs is one that has enabled more than 250 military families to enjoy gift-filled Christmases for the past several years.

The Spirit of Hope medal – Courtesy Photos/Shawna Ryan

The “Spirit of Hope” award is named for famed comedian Bob Hope. It is given each year to one person or organization nominated by each of the armed services, plus the Secretary of Defense and the Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The U.S. Marine Corps chose Rogers this year as was first reported in the Royal Examiner September 11. Rogers has accepted an invitation to give the keynote address at next May’s Memorial Day ceremony at the Front Royal Town Gazebo.

Rogers’ partner, Joe Cunningham, and wife Mary Ann, along with Rogers’ wife, Kathy, their daughters, Shawna and Lisa, hosted the reception at the Cunningham’s Miracle Valley Vineyard. His brothers-in-law, Michael Hasty of Luray and Kenny Hasty of Culpeper – known musically as The Hasty Brothers – provided the entertainment. About 70 attended to pay tribute to Rogers who turned 69 just two days later.

According to its citation, the Hope Award reflects the patriotism and service of Bob Hope, who for 50 years from World War II through Vietnam and to the Gulf War, visited remote outposts and isolated battleships to stage USO shows in war zones to entertain troops with song, dance, and comedy. Hope believed he gained more from the experience than he gave. “I hate war with all my guts,” the comedian told a crowd in 1971, “but I admire the guys with guts enough to fight them when they have to be fought.”

Hope was designated as the first honorary veteran by the U.S. Armed Forces. The honor was acknowledged by the U.S. Congress and signed into law by President Bill Clinton.

Our own Skip Rogers, in business in Front Royal for the past 10 years, is now among those citizens who have received one of the military’s highest honors awarded civilians who have dedicated their lives to the lives of active military, veterans, and their families.

A fine and well-deserved award on display. Courtesy Photos/Shawna Ryan

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