White House Event Honors 5,000th Daily Point of Light, Celebrates Legacy of Service
It was a day to reflect on the past, look to the future and honor the countless contributions volunteers make daily in every corner of America.
President Barack Obama and Points of Light Founder President George H. W. Bush joined dozens of service leaders from throughout the country at a White House event on July 15 to present the 5,000th Daily Point of Light Award to Floyd Hammer and Kathy Hamilton of Union, Iowa. Hammer and Hamilton are the founders of Outreach, Inc., which provides safe water, food, medical care and education to children and those in need at home and abroad.
"If the purpose of this award is to celebrate Americans who work to make our country and world a better place - not for their own advantage or for any ulterior motive, but just to serve, pure and simple - I cannot think of anyone more deserving than Kathy Hamilton and Floyd Hammer," said President Obama, who also took a moment to honor youth service leaders like Yash Gupta of California, who earned a Daily Point of Light Award for founding an organization to provide eyeglasses to the needy.
The Daily Point of Light Award - established in 1989 by President Bush - celebrates the power of individuals, alone and working together, to spark change and improve the world. The White House event was attended by past Daily Points of Light from across the United States who were on hand to pay tribute to the award's lasting legacy.
The event drew widespread national media coverage, and participation from thousands on social media. It was broadcast live by CNN and C-SPAN, and covered by national news outlets, including the CBS Evening News, the New York Times, USA Today and Politico.
President Bush, who continued his tradition of delighting crowds with colorful socks, introduced his son, Points of Light Chairman Neil Bush, praising him for his commitment to volunteering and service. Neil Bush lauded the ability of Americans to set aside differences and unite for a common purpose.
"Service is one of the things that truly brings our nation together. It transcends politics and addresses problems that government alone cannot solve," he said.
Points of Light CEO Michelle Nunn announced during the event that The Walt Disney Company will become a founding sponsor of the Daily Points of Light Trust, continuing a legacy of support that began in 1991, when Disney hosted and celebrated the first 575 Daily Point of Light honorees. Disney's support will help the Daily Point of Light Award move into the future with a special emphasis on honoring individuals and organizations that support and promote volunteering for kids and families.
"It was President Bush's genius to put a daily spotlight on these individuals and actions that embody the very best of our nation," said Nunn. "The award is an antidote to the dispiriting cynicism that too often pervades our news and our discourse. It reminds us that people care and that hope is the story -- the true story of America."