(CNN) – It was a homecoming for former President George H.W. and former first lady Barbara Bush at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. on Monday where they joined President Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle, in presenting the Points of Light honor for extraordinary work in community service.
The Points of Light Foundation, now the world's largest service organization coordinating volunteer projects, started during the Bush administration. The 41st president serves as the non-partisan, non-profit foundation's honorary chairman and his son, Neil Bush, is the president.
Obama thanked the former president for his long legacy of community service.
"In addition to this award, he created the first White House office dedicated to promoting volunteerism, and he championed and signed the National and Community Service Act,” Obama said.
The law helped jumpstart AmeriCorps, a federal program that places volunteers in a variety of nonprofit organizations around the country.
Obama credited Bush with setting off a sea change of volunteerism among Americans.
"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," the president said.
"We are surer a kinder and gentler nation because of you," he added.
The two presidents welcomed the 5,000th award recipients Kathy Hamilton and Floyd Hammer, co-founders of a leading national charity called Outreach, and commended them for extraordinary volunteer work.
"Thank you for this incredible award," Ms. Hamilton said. "Not in our wildest dreams did we ever plan to be here or ever imagined receiving this award."
The Outreach organization works to provide safe water, food, medical care and education to children and those in need, both at home and abroad.
"We're from Union, Iowa, which is a town of only 394 people – and it's amazing that a handful of people from this small town can make such a big difference,” Hammer said.
According to one of the co-founders, they have donated 232 million meals so far.
"The more of us who are making a difference, the better this world will be,” Hammer added.
Obama continued Monday's charity theme with an announcement of his new task force that will “take a fresh look at how we can better support national service in schools; recovering from disasters and mentoring our kids."
The task force will be led by a team of representatives from his Cabinet agencies and led by Wendy Spencer, CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service.
As for Bush, he said he will continue to be able to express his commitment to highlighting volunteerism and community service in America through his Points of Light Foundation.
The 89-year-old former president has battled health problems. He had been hospitalized this past winter suffering complications related to bronchitis.
Bush also has a form of Parkinson's disease that affects his legs and requires him to use a wheelchair.
His last public appearance was at the opening of his son President George W. Bush's presidential library in April.
and O will make sure to reverse everything he did to make us better
Every time obama's ratings start dropping, he saddles up to a Bush. Interesting.
Obama to Bush 41: "We are a ‘gentler nation’ because of you" Fool! We are more divided than ever because of him, and because of every President since Jimmy Carter who does not ave the guts to overturn the political correctness that sending America into a third-world status.
Poor Mr. Bush must have had to hold his tongue or tell this abomination what an embarrassment he's been to the office of the presidency.
We may have been a "gentler" nation under the elder Bush' watch, but George W Bush made us a nation known throughout the world as a nation of torturers. Obama has carried on with Bush's policy of indefinite detention and torture (through the continued use of rendition)
I I have respected what Bush 41 had done for American.
Yes, and we are NOT a gentler nation because of Obama! In fact, we're in a big, fat mess!
Sorry Bush. You were a NWO puppet. We know about you and the cocan on CIA airplanes, and various other crimes you and your family did. Your not a hero.
Obama IS Bush, only more imperious.
I have no problem with the article, but the link to this story from the CNN homepage is one of the most misleading things I've seen on the website of a news organization.
"We are surer a kinder and gentler nation because of you," What an illiterate. Right up there with corpseman.
We were a gentler nation with George HW Bush but we have lost that with the divider in chief that we have now
Why is Bush's son, the War Criminal not in prison?
I have never been a President George H. W. Bush fan, however, I care for him much more than his son. I agreed with the perhaps apocryphal story attributed to the President's wife Barbara who exclaimed, "president of what, George", when responding to the younger George's proclamation that he would be running for President. Of the two I prefer the elder, at least in him there was a bit of honor, and none of the falseness. I'm not sure Bush Sr. volunteered much for anything in his life but at least he attempted to create a veneer of public service.
obama and bush like each other's policies? I'm shocked!
Guess the propaganda machine is humming.
Mr New World Order and his offspring
I think there is something we lost between the 'Silent Generation' and the 'Baby Boomers'. Maybe it was the idea that there is more to people than their political affiliation.
Forget it, Barry.
He ain't gonna name you his 5th son.
(Or is it 6th? I hardly remembered that 3rd one. Is he the one that ripped of the Federal Government on the Savings & Loan Fiasco??)
More gentle society because the Police State will become more violent.
"To bring about a NEW WORLD ORDER, and we will be successful"
What a nice story. Yes the unions and hyper-wealthy are continuing to feed at the public trough, while mindless partisans bicker ad hominum, but meanwhile there will always be good people who volunteer with small acts of kindness. None of us can save this country, but all of us can make it a little bit better. Yay for us goodguys!
Obama does not want to bite his bosses hand.
0 looking for help wherever he can get it!
Odd thing to say about the former head of the CIA! Once again Obama puts politics as usual above the ideological beliefs of many of his supporters.