News / USA

Obama, Bush Highlight Importance of Volunteerism

President Barack Obama, right, with former President George H. W. Bush, left, present the 5,000th Daily Point of Light Award to Floyd Hammer and Kathy Hamilton, center, from Union, Iowa, in the East Room of the White House, Jul. 15, 2013.
President Barack Obama, right, with former President George H. W. Bush, left, present the 5,000th Daily Point of Light Award to Floyd Hammer and Kathy Hamilton, center, from Union, Iowa, in the East Room of the White House, Jul. 15, 2013.
Former U.S. president George H. W. Bush was back at the White House Monday for an event recognizing the work of a volunteer service organization he founded in 1989.  "Bush 41," as he is known, and President Barack Obama honored a couple for their volunteer work tackling global hunger.  
 
George Herbert Walker Bush visited the Obama White House last year, and in 2011 he received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, awarded to recognize "Bush 41's" commitment to public service.
 
As the nation’s 41st president in 1989, Bush established the Points of Light Foundation, dedicated to his lifelong passion of expanding volunteer service and encouraging individuals to spark change.
 
On Monday he returned with former first lady Barbara Bush, to join President Barack Obama in honoring recipients of the 5,000th Point of Light Award.
 
Growing out of anti-AIDS work in Tanzania, a non-profit company that Iowa couple Floyd Hammer and Kathy Hamilton started provides free meals to hungry children around the world.
 
"Outreach has distributed free meals to hungry children here in the U.S. and more than 15 countries worldwide.  To date, more than 233 million meals.  They have gotten to see many of the kids that they met grow up healthy and strong," Obama said. "This work they say is the most rewarding thing they have ever done.  And I have to say that having just been to Tanzania with Michelle, we can attest to how important this kind of work is, how it changes lives." 
 
Kathy Hamilton spoke about the importance of volunteerism.
 
"As we have seen time and time again, when people give of themselves, when they share the burden and they share the task of solving it, life shines, love grows, all over the world, and here at home.  Thank you so much," she said. 
 
Obama, the 44th president, and "Bush 41," who was in a wheelchair during Monday's event, last saw each other in April at the dedication of the George W. Bush presidential library in Dallas, Texas. 
 
Obama recognized steps the former president took to strengthen the tradition of service, including creating the first White House office dedicated to promoting volunteerism.
 
"Thanks to those programs and others like them and thanks to the passion of leaders like President Bush and citizens who found the same passion over the years, 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," he said. 
 
Former president Bush spoke briefly. "First I, of course, thank President and Mrs. Obama for this wonderful hospitality.  It is like coming home for Barbara and me, with the rest of you, just coming to this magnificent house, and being greeted by this superb hospitality, knows no bounds," he said. 
 
Obama has made volunteerism a major theme of his presidency.  He said he was one of millions who were inspired by Bush's passion and commitment, and "how bright a light you shine."
 
The president also used Monday's event to announce a new federal task force designed to increase public and private sector cooperation to support his goal of expanding national service.
 
In 2009, Obama signed legislation to triple by the end of 2017 the size of the AmeriCorps volunteer service program created under former president Bill Clinton.

You May Like

Uganda Court Annuls Anti-Gay Law

Court says law was passed in parliament without enough members present for a full quorum More

Multimedia Thailand Makes Efforts to Improve Conditions for Migrant Laborers

In Thailand, its not uncommon for parents to bring their children to work; one company, in-collaboration with other organizations, address safety concerns More

In Indonesia, Jihad Video Raises Concern

Video calls on Indonesians to join Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, ISIL More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
In Thailand, Some Efforts to Improve Conditions For Migrant Laborersi
X
Steve Herman
August 01, 2014 6:22 PM
Thailand has been facing increasing international scrutiny as a hub of human trafficking and slave labor. Some of the kingdom’s companies are striving to improve working conditions, especially for the millions of migrant laborers from surrounding countries. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok takes a look at one initiative for children at construction sites
Video

Video In Thailand, Some Efforts to Improve Conditions For Migrant Laborers

Thailand has been facing increasing international scrutiny as a hub of human trafficking and slave labor. Some of the kingdom’s companies are striving to improve working conditions, especially for the millions of migrant laborers from surrounding countries. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok takes a look at one initiative for children at construction sites
Video

Video Public Raises its Voice on Power Plant Pollution

In the United States, proposed rules to cut pollution from the nation’s 600 coal-fired power plants are generating a heated debate. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, charged with writing and implementing the plan, has already received 300,000 written comments. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, another 1,600 people are lining up this week at EPA headquarters and at satellite offices around the country to give their testimony in person.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video China Investigates Powerful Former Security Chief

The public in China is welcoming the Communist Party's decision to investigate one of the country's once most powerful politicians, former domestic security chief Zhou Yongkang. Analysts say the move by President Xi Jinping is not only an effort to win more support for the party, but an essential step to furthering much needed economic reforms and removing those who would stand in the way of change. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.

AppleAndroid