News Column

Obama Honors Elder Bush for Volunteer Work

July 15, 2013

US President Barack Obama honoured former president George HW Bush for his efforts to bolster volunteerism, as the men jointly presented an award Monday at the White House to a couple for their humanitarian work.

The elder Bush and his wife, Barbara, returned to the White House to present the 5,000th daily Point of Light Award to Floyd Hammer and Kathy Hamilton for their work fighting hunger in Tanzania.

The Points of Light programme was started by Bush during his 1989-93 presidential term to encourage volunteer service by Americans.

Bush, 89, said that visiting the White House was "like coming home for Barbara and me."

He appeared in a wheel chair, wearing his signature colourful socks. The couple lunched with Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama before the event.

Obama praised Bush for changing US culture by promoting volunteerism with the programme and signing the National and Community Service Act.

"Thanks to those programmes and others like them, and thanks to the passion of leaders like President Bush and citizens who found the same passion over the years, voluntarism 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.

Bush's oldest son, George W Bush, was president from 2001-09.

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Source: Copyright 2013 dpa Deutsche Presse-Agentur GmbH

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