HireQuest American Hero Awards

Each year HireQuest Inc. and the Higher Quest Foundation hold an event to honor true American heroes: our servicemen and women.

Formerly known as the Acrux/Trojan Labor Awards, the HireQuest American Hero Awards recognize the sacrifices our heroes and their families make for our country. We come together over breakfast to honor these sacrifices with two awards.

The first, the Ultimate American Hero Award, is given to the family member of a service member who has been killed while serving in the global war on terror.

The second, the American Hero Award, recognizes a service member for his or her meritorious action in combating the global war on terror.

The 2020 American Hero Awards Ceremony

On Wednesday, August 19th, we will present the 2020 American Hero Awards during a breakfast ceremony on the fantail deck of the USS Yorktown in Mount Pleasant, S.C.

Gen. James Livingston, a Medal of Honor recipient, joins us for the 15th year as our honored guest speaker.

This year, our award recipients are Capt. Richard G. Cliff, whose sacrifice we honor with the Ultimate Hero Award, and James Gobble, formerly of the U.S. Marine Corps.


Ultimate Hero Award Recipient: Capt. Richard G. Cliff, U.S. Army

Captain Richard G. Cliff was from Mount Pleasant, S.C. A Wando High School graduate, he loved surfing, skiing, and mountain climbing. Cliff graduated from Appalachian State University, where he was the captain of the ROTC Ranger Challenge Team.

In 2002, Cliff received his commission and attended infantry training at Fort Benning, Ga. He also graduated from the Basic Airborne course and the Special Forces qualification course. A year later, he deployed to Iraq on his first tour.

Cliff deployed twice more. On his third deployment in Afghanistan, he was killed in action along with two other members of his team in the Bravo Company, 1st Battalion 7th Special Forces Group. They were attacked on Sept. 29, 2008, while on patrol in Helmand province.

His decorations include the Bronze Star, Purple Heart, five U.S. Army commendation medals, the National Defense Service medal, the Basic Airborne insignia, the Ranger tab, and the Special Forces tab, among many others. He is survived by wife, Stacy, and their son, Richard; as well as his mother, father, and brother, Julie, Richard, and Eddie.

American Hero Award Recipient: James Gobble, U.S. Marines

James Gobble is a classic example of an American hero beyond the battlefield.

He graduated from Fred T. Foard High School in Newton, N.C., and University of North Carolina at Wilmington with a degree in business.

A former U.S. Marine, Gobble served domestically from 1991 to 1995. Since then, he’s worked extensively with suicide prevention programs focused on veterans and their surviving family members, inspired by the death of his own sister, Senior Chief Petty Officer Kim Hunter of the U.S. Navy Reserves.

His work in the community began in 2009 as a volunteer with the tragedy assistance program for survivors. There, he focused on mentoring the children of deceased service members as they processed their loss. In 2010, he began working with Comfort Zone Camps and in 2012, he began volunteering with the Salvation Army.

Gobble’s continuing work in service includes fundraising for a Wilmington, N.C.-based rape crisis center, serving on the board of Snowball Wilmington, partnering with the Travis Manion Foundation, contributing to the North Carolina Suicide Prevention Plan, ushering at his local church, and teaching special education in Pender County schools.

Today, in addition to his volunteer work, he is studying toward a master’s degree in clinical mental health and seeks to become a licensed professional counselor.