President Obama plans to welcome former president George H. W. Bush to the White House next week to honor service volunteers with Points of Light, Bush’s nonprofit charitable organization.
Obama and Bush are scheduled to appear together at the White House on Monday, along with recipients of the Daily Point of Light Award, which recognizes volunteers who have made a difference in their communities, according to Leona Hiraoka, a spokeswoman for Points of Light. Monday marks the 5,000th awarding of the award, she said.
A White House official said Bush would be joined by his wife, Barbara, and other members of the Bush family, including Neil Bush, one of Bush's sons and a brother of former president George W. Bush.
"Monday’s event brings together two Presidents and families united in their commitment to growing volunteerism and service – an issue with a long history of strong bipartisan support," said the White House official, who requested anonymity to preview the event.
Points of Light is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization formed to encourage volunteerism following Bush’s 1989 inaugural address. In that speech, Bush spoke of "a thousand points of light...a new engagement in the lives of others, a new activism, hands-on and involved, that gets the job done."
Bush, a Republican, serves as the organization’s honorary chairman, while Michelle Nunn, daughter of former U.S. senator Sam Nunn (D-Ga.) and a top Democratic recruit to run for Georgia’s open Senate seat in 2014, serves as chief executive officer.
Bush’s public appearance comes several months after a health scare. He was hospitalized in December with bronchitis, and in recent years was diagnosed with a form of Parkinson’s disease. As he celebrated his 89th birthday last month, however, the former president, known for his colorful sock collection, sported a pair of socks with the Superman logo.
Last weekend, Bush and his wife welcomed former congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) and her husband, retired astronaut and fighter pilot Mark Kelly, to the Bush family compound in Kennebunkport, Maine. Giffords and Kelly visited the estate for lunch Saturday during their nationwide “Rights and Responsibilities” tour to promote expanding background checks for gun buyers.