Obama Praises George H.W. Bush for Volunteer Work

Image: Obama Praises George H.W. Bush for Volunteer Work

Tuesday, 16 Jul 2013 02:52 PM

By Courtney Coren

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Former President George H.W. Bush and Barbara Bush made a return visit to the White House Monday to join President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama in presenting the 5,000th award from the Points of Light Foundation for volunteerism.

Obama honored Bush and poured praise on him for creating the Points of Light Foundation and Award, which began as a way to honor work in community service, and was named after a phrase from Bush's 1989 inaugural address in which he referred to Americans helping each other as "a thousand points of light," The New York Daily News reports.

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"You've described for us those thousand points of light — all the people and organizations spread out all across the country who are like stars brightening the lives of those around them," Obama said, according to NBC News.  "But given the humility that's defined your life, I suspect it's harder for you to see something that's clear to everybody else around you, and that's how bright a light you shine."

"On behalf of all of us, let me just say that we are surely a kinder and gentler nation because of you, and we can't thank you enough," Obama added.

The 5,000th Points of Light award was presented by Bush, Barbara Bush, the president, and the first lady to Kathy Hamilton and Floyd Hammer, who co-founded Outreach, a leading national charity.

Obama gave credit to Bush for creating a movement of volunteerism and community service during and after his presidency.

"In addition to this award, he created the first White House office dedicated to promoting volunteerism, and he championed and signed the National and Community Service Act," Obama said.

The law opened the door for the federal volunteer program, AmeriCorps.

The Points of Light Foundation is the world's largest volunteer organization that works to coordinate community service projects, which Bush created during his presidency. The 41st president serves as the honorary chairman of the foundation, and his son Neil is the president.

"Volunteerism has gone from something some people do some of the time to something lots of people do as a regular part of their lives," Obama said.

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