2023 American Hero Award Recipients

Each year, HireQuest Inc. and the Higher Quest Foundation host the American Hero Awards. The ceremony recognizes two American service men or women who have gone above the call of duty in service to their country.

Ultimate Hero Award Recipient PFC Michael R. Patton, U.S. Marine Corps

Michael was born on Pearl Harbor Day and passed away on Flag Day. After 9/11, he told his parents that he needed to join the service to help protect those who could not protect themselves.

“Mikey,” as he was known to his friends and family, loved playing basketball with his school team. He traveled with his family to many American military bases to visit his uncle, a proud Marine.

Naturally, Michael chose to join the Marine Corps, where he served honorably with the Marine Expeditionary Force. He died on June 14, 2008, in Farah, Afghanistan, while supporting combat operations.

American Hero Award Recipient SGT Brennan J. Beck, U.S. Army

Brennan graduated from high school and enlisted as an Infantryman 5 days later. During his 5 years of service, he deployed to Iraq twice.

Since leaving service, Brennan has earned a bachelor’s degree in English and a master’s degree in Education. He founded Clemson University’s Military and Veteran Engagement Program, and Gov. McMaster lauded his work at the S.C. Department of Veteran’s Affairs.

Today, Brennan lives in Bluffton, S.C., with his wife Ashley and his two children, Brynley and Gavin. He is a construction superintendent with homebuilder Palmetto Bluffs and continues to be involved in veteran organizations, including Vantage Point Foundation and OPFOB.

2022 American Hero Award Recipients

Each year, HireQuest Inc. and the Higher Quest Foundation host the American Hero Awards. The ceremony recognizes two American service men or women who have gone above the call of duty in service to their country.

Ultimate Hero Award Recipient Corporal Benjamin S. Kopp, U.S. Army

After 9/11, CPL Kopp vowed to serve his country with pride, following in the footsteps of his great grandfather, a World War II veteran.

CPL Kopp arrived at Fort Benning, Ga., 1 month after his high school graduation. Eight months later, he became an Army Ranger. CPL Kopp served in the 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment and completed two tours of duty in Iraq and a third in Afghanistan. There, on July 10, 2009, he saved the lives of six of his fellow Rangers when they came under attack by Taliban forces.

Tragically, CPL Kopp was shot in the leg and did not recover from the trauma. He died July 18, 2009, at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.

To this day, Ben lives on in the hearts and minds of his family—and the dozens of individuals to whom he donated his organs.

American Hero Award Recipient Sergeant Major Gary W. Buck, U.S. Marine Corps

In 1985, SgtMaj Buck enlisted in the Marine Corps and shipped off to Parris Island, S.C. Over seven combat tours, including Desert Shield, Desert Storm, Safe Return, Operation Enduring Freedom, and Operation Iraqi Freedom, SgtMaj Buck steadily climbed the ranks. He has also achieved an Associate’s from Columbia Southern University, a Bachelor’s in business administration from Waldorf University, and a Master’s in educational leadership from Marshall University. In 2010, he returned to the Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island to serve as the Depot Sergeant Major, where he works with new recruits today.

SgtMaj Buck’s commendations include the Navy/Marine Corps Achievement and Commendation medals, Meritorious Service Medal (2 gold stars), Legion of Merit, and others.

2021 American Hero Award Recipients

Each year, HireQuest Inc. and the Higher Quest Foundation host the American Hero Awards. The ceremony recognizes two American service men or women who have gone above the call of duty in service to their country.

Ultimate Hero Award Recipient Major Edward J. Murphy, U.S. Army

MAJ Murphy always wanted to be a soldier.

At 17, he enlisted in the Army and served in the S.C. Army National Guard while studying at the University of South Carolina. In 1992, he was commissioned as an armor officer and completed Airborne and Ranger School. MAJ Murphy served at Camp Pelham, South Korea; Bad Kreuznach, Germany; Tuzla, Bosnia; and, finally, Bagram, Afghanistan. He was killed in southeast Afghanistan when an Army CH-47 Chinook crashed, killing everyone on-board.

He was the beloved husband of Barclay and father of three children, Eddie, Elly, and Luke.

American Hero Award Recipient Sergeant First Class Joshua White, U.S. Army

In 2005, SFC White enlisted in the Army, becoming an infantryman before earning his Green Beret in December 2006. He has deployed to Afghanistan, Ecuador, Colombia, and other locations. His commendations include 3 Bronze Stars, Purple Heart, Basic Airborne Insignia, Special Forces Tab, and others.

A graduate of Ohio University, SFC White currently works with Venergy Group in Fort Pierce, Fla., where he lives with his wife, Meredith, and their three children, Jax, Mason, and Wyatt.

2020 American Hero Award Recipients

Each year, HireQuest Inc. and the Higher Quest Foundation host the American Hero Awards. The ceremony recognizes two American service men or women who have gone above the call of duty in service to their country.

Ultimate Hero Award Recipient Captain Richard Cliff, U.S. Air Force

Capt Cliff, of Mount Pleasant, S.C., was a Wando High School graduate who loved surfing, skiing, and mountain climbing. He captained the ROTC Ranger Challenge Team at Appalachian State University, and joined the Air Force in 2002.

On his third deployment in Afghanistan, Capt Cliff 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. He is survived by wife, Stacy, and their son, Richard; as well as his mother, Julie, father, Richard, and brother, Eddie.

Capt Cliff’s commendations include the Bronze Star, Purple Heart, 5 U.S. Army commendation medals, National Defense Service medal, Basic Airborne insignia, Ranger tab, and Special Forces tab.

American Hero Award Recipient: James Gobble, U.S. Marine Corps (ret.)

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

A former 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, SCPO Kim Hunter, U.S. Navy Reserve. 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.

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.

2019 American Hero Award Recipients

Each year, HireQuest Inc. and the Higher Quest Foundation host the American Hero Awards. The ceremony recognizes two American service men or women who have gone above the call of duty in service to their country.

Ultimate Hero Award Recipient: Lieutenant Peter Ober, U.S. Navy

Lt. Peter Ober was born in Charleston, SC. He graduated from Episcopal High School in Jacksonville, Fla., where he received the Sportsmanship Award, which has since been renamed the Peter Ober Sportsmanship Award in recognition of his integrity, selflessness, perseverance, kindness, and community service.

Lieutenant Pete Ober, U.S. Navy

In 1998, Ober graduated from Citadel in Charleston, S.C., as a proud member of Charlie Company. While there, his passion and dedication for wrestling mirrored his never-ending enthusiasm for physical exercise and determination to motivate others awarded him the Tenacity Award.

After he married his wife, Alicia, he accepted a commission in the U.S. Navy and was trained as a naval aviator. His strong sense of duty to his country and his ability to work with others enabled him to thrive in the Navy. His sense of honor, integrity, and honesty made him an inspiring leader.

Shortly before his death, he was promoted to lieutenant and had advanced in his career to become the helicopter aircraft commander of the MH-53E Sea Dragon. On July 16th, 2003, the MH-53E Ober was flying caught fire due to mechanical problems. It crashed during a training mission near NAS Sigonella, killing everyone on board.

Ober’s unwavering dedication and willingness to serve our country at all costs, including his own life, makes him the ultimate American hero.

American Hero Award Recipient: Staff Sergeant Stephen Meyer

Staff Sgt. Stephen Meyer is a paramedic and staff sergeant in the U.S. Army, recently serving as the 75th Ranger Regiment senior medic. He was deployed for Operation Freedom’s Sentinel as a special operations strike force senior medic and medical advisor to the Afghanistan Special Operations Force. Meyer provided medical support and training to junior medics to ensure the highest level of readiness.

He received a commendation medal with “C” device for exceptional achievement in support of the operation. Meyer’s advanced training enabled him to treat severe wounds, administer tranexamic acid, apply tourniquets, perform invasive procedures on severely injured casualties, and safely move them to a secure location.

“SSG Meyer is the epitome of selfless service.”

Meyer was wounded in action. Despite being immobilized and in pain with his own injury, he continued caring for his injured comrades. He was later awarded the Purple Heart.

“SSG Meyer’s superior professionalism, expertise, and unwavering commitment to excellence have and continue to save lives on the battlefield.”

After graduating from the U.S. Army Ranger School, the Air Assault School, and the Airborne School, and six deployments, Meyer has not only received the Purple Heart and the Combat Medic Badge, but also the National Association of Emergency Medical Technician’s Military Medic of 2018 award. He is truly a great American hero.

2018 American Hero Award Recipients

Each year, Trojan Labor and the Higher Quest Foundation host the American Hero Awards. The ceremony recognizes two American service men or women who have gone above the call of duty in service to their country.

Ultimate Hero Award Recipient: Captain Daniel Eggers, U.S. Army

Capt. Eggers was born in Pueblo, Colo., and spent his early years in Hollis, N.H. In 1987, he and his family moved to Cape Coral, Fla. He was a devout Catholic and an altar boy during middle school and high school. He attended Gulf Middle School and graduated from Cape Coral High School.

Captain Daniel Eggers, U.S. Army

While at Cape High, Eggers was enrolled in the JROTC program and was the battalion commander in his senior year. He was a member of the National Honor Society, ran cross-country, and was in the Young Marines, the United Stated Marine Corps’ youth program. In 1992, he was selected as the National Young Marine of the Year.   He graduated from The Citadel in Charleston, S.C. with a degree in history in 1997.  He was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army Infantry in May 1997.

In July 2001, he began training for Special Forces and earned his green beret two years later. He went through the Army Arabic Language School and was fluent in Arabic. Eggers was deployed to Afghanistan in April 2003. While in Afghanistan, as a Green Beret team leader in the 1st Battalion, 3rdForces Group (Airborne), he carried out secret missions.

Eggers came from a large family with a long tradition of military service. His great-great-grandfather was a member of Theodore Roosevelt’s Rough Riders, two grandfathers served in World War II, his father served in Vietnam, and his younger brother served two tours in Iraq.

On May 29, 2004, Eggers was killed in action in the Zabul Province in southeastern Afghanistan when his Humvee struck a land mine as he was pursuing the enemy. It was his second tour of duty there, and he was serving as detachment commander. He was buried with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Va.

Eggers is survived by his wife, Rebecca, a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army who is stationed at Ft. Campbell, Ky.; as well as two sons, John and William; his parents William and Margaret; and his siblings, two brothers and four sisters.

On March 21, 2005, the U. S. Army renamed the combined forces compound in Kabul, Afghanistan “Camp Eggers,” after Captain Daniel William Eggers. During the dedication ceremony, a plaque was unveiled honoring this American hero.

Eggers was awarded the Bronze Star Medal during his first tour in Afghanistan. During his second tour, he was awarded a second Bronze Star Medal, a Bronze Star Medal with a “V” device (valor), and the Purple Heart.

Family, friends, priests, and peers used these words to describe Danny: “dedicated, intelligent, born leader, motivated, and possessing both a great sense of humor and humility.” They called him “the patron saint of the underdog.”

American Hero Award Recipient: Sergeant Andrew Smith, U.S. Marine Corps

Andrew Smith grew up in Easley, S.C., and attended the College of Charleston. During his junior year, he felt his life needed a drastic change.

“There were all these things going on in the world,: he said, “and I was missing out.”

In 2008, he joined the Marines, and was soon deployed to MEU.

In 2010, Smith was sent on his 2nd deployment to Haiti to provide emergency aid. Upon his return, he successfully became a Marine sniper. On May 15, 2011, while deployed to Afghanistan, Smith was severely injured from mortar shrapnel while under enemy attack. Moving quickly, medics placed Smith aboard a helicopter for transport to a hospital at Camp Leatherneck.

He was discharged from the hospital on May 27, 2011, after several surgeries. The following January, he was honorably discharged from the Marines as a sergeant. He earned the Purple Heart, Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Armed Forces Service Medal, Humanitarian Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Navy Unit Commendation, NATO Medal-ISAF Afghanistan, and the Presidential Unit Citation.

Smith has gone on to graduate from the Charleston School of Law, summa cum laudem and is now an attorney in Charleston, S.C. He is a true American hero.

2017 American Hero Award Recipients

Each year, Trojan Labor, Acrux Staffing, and the Higher Quest Foundation host the American Hero Awards. The ceremony recognizes two American service men or women who have gone above the call of duty in service to their country.

Ultimate Hero Award Recipient: Pfc. Cody James Patterson

Pfc. Cody Patterson was born April 12, 1989, in Corvallis, Ore. After graduating from Philomath High School, he enlisted in the U.S. Army from his hometown of Philomath, Ore., in January 2012 and completed One Station Unit Training at Fort Benning as an infantryman.

After graduating from the Basic Airborne Course there, he was assigned to the Ranger Assessment and Selection Program, also at Fort Benning. Patterson graduated from the Ranger Assessment and Selection Program and was then assigned to Company B, 3rd Bn., 75th Ranger Regiment in November 2012 and served as a rifleman. His military education includes the Basic Airborne Course and the Ranger Assessment and Selection Program.

Sadly, he was killed on his second deployment, first combat deployment.

His awards and decorations include:

The Parachutist Badge

The U.S. Army Expert Rifle Marksmanship Qualification Badge.

Patterson also has been awarded:

The National Defense Service Medal

Afghanistan Campaign Medal with Campaign Star

Global War on Terrorism Service Medal

Army Service Ribbon

Overseas Service Ribbon

Posthumous Certificate of Promotion

The Good Conduct Medal

The Combat Infantryman’s Badge

Bronze Star Medal

Bronze Star Metal with “V” device

American Hero Award Recipient: Staff Sergeant Jeffery M. Dawson.

The 2017 American Hero Award recipient is Staff Sergeant Jeffrey Dawson. He graduated from Mt. Vernon High School in Fortville, Indiana.

On February 17th, 2015, Dawson was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, the nation’s second highest award for valor. He earned this award while deployed to Afghanistan with the 28th EOD Company (Airborne).

During a mission, a fleeing enemy insurgent detonated an explosive killing himself and the team’s dog.

(FORT BENNING, Ga) 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, Distinguished Service Cross Ceremony, February 17, 2015 in Marshall Auditorium. Sgt. Bryan Anderson, 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, and Staff Sgt. Jeffery Dawson, 28th Ordnance Company (Airborne), received the nationÕs second highest honor the Distinguished Service Cross, for their heroic actions Oct. 6, 2013. (Photos by: Patrick A. Albright/MCoE PAO Photographer)

Soon after, Dawson realized that there were IED’s surrounding him and his team.

According to the Army news website:“Despite being wounded by two separate explosions, Dawson halted the mission, disarmed the improvised explosive devices and aided in the evacuation of dead and wounded Soldiers. Navigating the chaotic situation in limited visibility for more than two hours, Dawson exposed himself to grave danger while locating three confirmed pressure plate IEDs and an additional six suspected devices, the award citation stated.”

Dawson’s other awards and recognition’s include:

Combat Action Badge, Senior Explosive Ordnance Disposal Badge, Parachutists Badge,Distinguished Service Cross, Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart, Joint Service Commendation Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal, Iraq Campaign Ribbon with one campaign star, Afghanistan Campaign Ribbon with 2 campaign stars, Valorous Unit Award, and Meritorious Unit Citation.

Staff Sergeant Jeffrey Dawson went above the call of duty and is truly deserving of the 2017 American Hero Award.

2016 American Hero Award Recipients

2015 Trojan Labor American Hero Recipients


Spc. Joseph Caron was a native of Tacoma, Washington and participated in Air Force ROTC in high school as he always knew he wanted to serve his country in the armed forces. Spc. Caron was a member of Bravo Company, 2nd Battalion, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team out of Fort Bragg, NC. Spc. Caron was killed when his unit was attacked by insurgents using a roadside bomb while he was on foot patrol in the Arghandab River Valley in Afghanistan. Spc. Joseph Caron is missed by all who knew him.



Sergeant Bryan Anderson is assigned to Headquarters Company, 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment at Fort Benning, GA., as a combat medic. He was born in Wayne, Michigan.

Sgt. Anderson was a medic with a team of Army Rangers who were raiding an enemy compound in south Afghanistan. Suddenly, at least 10 IED’s detonated within a matter of minutes. Four soldiers were mortally wounded and several others were catastrophically injured. Although he suffered injuries, Sgt. Anderson rushed to aid his comrades. He moved into areas that had not yet been cleared for IEDs and treated the wounded soldiers. While treating the soldiers, another blast knocked Sgt. Anderson over and mortally wounded Specialist Cody Patterson. He then continued to treat the wounded, including Cpl. Hargis, whom he kept alive for an hour and thirty seven minutes with two leg amputations in an area surrounded with explosives. “I never even thought twice about running to one of those patients,”Anderson told Army Times. “The guys are basically my family, so when one of them is hurt, and I’m their medic, it’s my job to go make them better.” In addition to being an American Hero Award recipient, Sgt. Anderson recently received the Army Distinguished Service Cross. The Distinguished Service Cross is the Army’s second highest award after the Congressional Medal of Honor.

Both of these men are American Heroes. They have gone above and beyond the call of duty. We are incredibly grateful for the service all of our active duty military and veterans. Freedom is not free, it comes at a price, a price which is paid every day by our nation’s military.

2014 Trojan Labor American Hero Recipients


SFC Santos-Silva: Sergeant First Class Carlos M. Santos-Silva was born November 4 1977, in Wiesbaden Germany. On April 11 1998 he married Kristen J Anderson, in Fort Campbell, Ky. On March 6 1999 he celebrated the birth of his only son Cameron Santos-Silva. He served in the United States Army from August 1996 until March 22 2010. He was a veteran of the Kosovo campaign, Operation Iraqi freedom where he completed 2 tours as a member of the 2nd Battalion 14th Infantry Regiment based out of Fort Drum, NY.  He was killed in action on March 22,2010 while serving as a Platoon Sergeant in the 82nd Airborne Division while assigned to the 2-508 Parachute Infantry Regiment in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.  During the span of his 14 year career Sergeant First Class Santos-Silva awards and decorations include the Purple Heart, the Bronze Star Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Army Commendation Medal, the Army Achievement Medal with three Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters, the Army Good Conduct Medal (4), the National Defense Service Medal, the Kosovo Campaign Medal, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal with Campaign Star, the Iraqi Campaign Medal with Campaign Star, the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Medal, the Noncommissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon, the NATO Medal, the Expert Infantryman Badge, the Combat Infantry Badge, the Pathfinder Badge, the Air Assault Badge, and the Basic Parachutist Badge. Carlos was a loving husband, father, son and friend and is truly missed by all.

MusilSFC Musil:  Sergeant First Class Robert Musil is the recipient of two bronze star medals, the first of which he was on a QRF element in Ghazni Province Afghanistan serving as a M240B machine gun team leader. In a fight that lasted about 10 hours, through extremely heavy gun fire, after being shot at his chest plate, he remained in control of the element and selflessly called in an Apache Strike almost on top of his position in order to suppress the enemy and continued to return fire. The second Bronze Star was for meritorious service where he led his Platoon in Afghanistan in the main effort on the final Push into the Home of the Taliban. Sergeant First Class Robert Musil awards and decorations also include 2 Meritorious Service Medals, 3 Army Commendation Medals, 3 Army Achievement Medals, Combat Infantry Badge, Ranger Tab, Senior Parachutist Badge, Irish Jump Wings, and the Air Assault Badge. SFC Musil’s continued service to our nation is a testimony to sacrifices made by service men. Let us join his wife, Christina and two daughters, Zoe Elizabeth and Genevieve Nichole, in recognizing him as a true American Hero.