- (Photo: Reuters/Lucy Nicholson)
President Barack Obama is set to honor former President George H.W. Bush at the White House on Monday for the Points of Light initiative, described as the "world's largest organization dedicated to volunteer service."
Bush, the 41st president of the United States, served in office from 1989 to 1993. In his inaugural address, he called on citizens to extend their efforts to help others, talking about his vision of a "thousand points of light." In 1990, the Points of Light Foundation was founded as an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit group, under the principle that "what government alone can do is limited, but the potential of the American people knows no limits."
Also on Monday, the 5,000th Daily Point of Light Award will be given since the organization was established, and it will go to Floyd Hammer and Kathy Hamilton, a retired couple in Iowa whose non-profit organization sends meals to suffering children in over 15 countries.
Points of Light says that every day "people of all ages, races, ethnicities and faiths step up to tackle problems in their communities and around the world," and says that its mission is to connect people to their power to make a difference through volunteering. The nonprofit notes that in 2011, it mobilized 4.3 million volunteers and 77,052 partners in 20 countries around the world.
The White House announced plans to create a federal task force "to identify additional ways that the public and private sectors can partner together to support national service as a strategy for tackling national priorities."
President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama are scheduled to have lunch with Bush and former first lady Barbara Bush.
Earlier in July, Obama met up with Bush's son, former President George W. Bush, during separate trips to Africa, commemorating the 15th anniversary of Osama bin Laden's first attack on the United States. It was the first time two American presidents had met on foreign soil to commemorate a terrorist attack – they honored the 223 people killed and over 4,000 injured on August 7, 1998, when twin suicide truck bombs hit the U.S. Embassy in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, and in Nairobi, Kenya.