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

Video For West Ukraine City, Conflict Far Away Yet Near

Physically and culturally close to Western Europe, Lviv feels solidarity with compatriots in country’s east but says they need to decide own future More

West African Women Disproportionately Affected by Ebola

Women's roles in families and the community put them at greater risk for contracting the disease, officials say More

Video NASA's MAVEN Spacecraft Arrives at Mars

Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution craft will measure rates at which gases escape Martian atmosphere into space More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
NASA’s MAVEN Probe Enters Mars Orbiti
X
September 22, 2014 9:20 PM
NASA’s newest Mars probe, called MAVEN, has successfully entered its designated orbit around the Red Planet. Scientists will use its sophisticated instruments to try to learn what happened to the atmosphere Mars had a few billion years ago. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video NASA’s MAVEN Probe Enters Mars Orbit

NASA’s newest Mars probe, called MAVEN, has successfully entered its designated orbit around the Red Planet. Scientists will use its sophisticated instruments to try to learn what happened to the atmosphere Mars had a few billion years ago. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video For West Ukraine City, Conflict Far Away Yet Near

The western Ukrainian city of Lviv prides itself on being both physically and culturally close to Western Europe. The Russian-backed separatists in the eastern part of the country are 1,200 kilometers away, and seemingly even farther away in their world view. Still, as VOA’s Al Pessin reports, the war is having an impact in Lviv.
Video

Video Saving Global Fish Stocks Starts in the Kitchen

With an estimated 90 percent of the world’s larger fish populations having already vanished, a growing number of people in the seafood industry are embracing the concept of sustainable fishing and farming practices. One American marine biologist turned restaurateur in Thailand is spreading the word among fellow chefs and customers. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Chinese Admiral Key in China’s Promotion of Sea Links

China’s President last week wrapped up landmark visits to India, Sri Lanka and Maldives, part of a broader campaign to promote a new “Maritime Silk Road” in Asia. The Chinese government’s promotion efforts rely heavily on the country’s best-known sailor, a 15th century eunuch named Zheng He. VOA's Bill Ide reports from the sailor’s hometown in Yunnan on the effort to promote China’s future by recalling its past.
Video

Video Experts Fear Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’

Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Town

A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Difficult Tactical Battle Ahead Against IS Militants in Syria

The U.S. president has ordered the military to intensify its fight against the Islamic State, including in Syria. But how does the military conduct air strikes in a country that is not a U.S. ally? VOA correspondent Carla Babb reports from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid