The US is a "kinder and gentlernation" because of former president George HW Bush, who led a "national movement" to advance volunteerism and community service in the country, President Barack Obama has said.
Obama lauded the 41st US president at a White House ceremony to recognise Points of Light Foundation, the nonprofit group Bush founded in 1990 to promote volunteerism.
Obama credited the 89-year-old Bush with sparking a "national movement" to advance volunteerism and community service.
"On behalf of all of us, let me just say that we are surely a kinder and gentler nation because of you, and we can't thank you enough," Obama said.
"Our country is a better and a stronger force for good in the world because, more and more, we are a people that serve. And for that, we have to thank president Bush, and his better half, Barbara, who is just as committed as her husband to service, and has dedicated her life to it as well," Obama said.
Obama announced a new task force, with representatives from Cabinet agencies and departments across the government, to take a fresh look at how they can better support national service on some of the most important national priorities like improving schools, recovering from disasters and mentoring kids etc.
"And this task force will be led by my team here at the White House, along with Wendy Spencer, who is here - the CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service - who previously led the volunteer commission in Florida for Governor Jeb Bush," he said.
Points of Light Foundation, the nonprofit group Bush founded in 1990 to promote volunteerism, awarded its 5,000 daily point of light award to Floyd Hammer and Kathy Hamilton, whose Outreach Inc. delivers meals to starving children around the world.
In his 1989 inaugural address, Bush had famously called community volunteers "a thousand points of light," and his foundation has since grown into the largest nonprofit in the world dedicated to volunteer service.