WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama welcomed President George H.W. Bush to the White House on Monday in a salute to public service and to the drive for volunteerism that the 41st president inspired with his “thousand points of light” initiative more than two decades ago.
“We are surely a kinder and gentler nation because of you,” Obama told the elder Bush, who sat in a room filled with his friends and former aides.
The first President Bush – “41,” he often calls himself – came to attend a ceremony Obama was holding to recognize the 5,000th Daily Point of Light Award. The award’s name comes from the description in his 1989 inaugural address of Americans serving each other as “a thousand points of light.”
The recipients of the 5,000th Point of Light Award were Floyd Hammer and Kathy Hamilton, a retired couple from Union, Iowa, who created Outreach, a nonprofit organization that delivers free meals to children suffering from hunger in more than 15 countries, including the United States. The couple’s program has relied on thousands of volunteers to help assemble and distribute more than 232 million free meals to children worldwide, the White House said.