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Bush Urges More Community Action - 2002-01-31

President Bush wants more community action to strengthen homeland security in the war against terrorism. The president was in Florida where he followed-up on his State of the Union call for more volunteers.

The president is promoting greater national service as a way for more Americans to contribute to the anti-terrorism effort. He told senior citizens in Florida that military force overseas should be matched by an army of compassion at home. "The best way to fight evil is with acts of kindness," he said. "The best way to fight evil is for people to love their neighbor. People say, 'Well, I want to be part of the war on terror.' OK. Go love a child. Find somebody who needs help."

The president's State of the Union address called for all Americans to spend two years or 4,000 hours over the rest of their lives as community volunteers. Mr. Bush launched a new program called the USA Freedom Corps which will spend more than $500 million expanding existing projects and getting more volunteers to help out with homeland security.

The president wants to double the size of the Peace Corps during the next five years to almost 15,000 volunteers. Mr. Bush says many of those additional Peace Corps members will work on development programs in Islamic countries.

He also wants to get another 100,000 older Americans involved in the Senior Corps program in which retired volunteers support emergency service workers. "Americans are asking how you can help; here is another way to help to serve your nation by being part of an emergency response team," said George W. Bush. "There are retired doctors and retired nurses that can help hospitals, retired policeman and fireman who can help fire. People who want to help; here is a good way to help."

President Bush is next taking his volunteer message to the southern city of Atlanta for a speech encouraging more Americans to help-out as teachers.