Volunteers, including many from the American Red Cross, found seats on the South Lawn of the White House and prepared for the arrival of President George W. Bush. The ceremony, held on September 8, honored America’s volunteers who serve at home and abroad, and highlighted the USA Freedom Corps, created by the President following 9/11.
President George W. Bush is applauded following his remarks highlighting the achievements of volunteerism and work of the USA Freedom Corps Monday, Sept. 8, 2008, on the South Lawn of the White House. White House photo by Eric Draper
Calling the assembled volunteers “members of the armies of compassion,” President Bush spoke of the personal rewards of service, and of the “amazing phenomenon of volunteerism” he has witnessed during his travels. The President encouraged Americans to spend at least 4,000 hours in volunteer service during the course of a lifetime.
The day honoring volunteers also marked the release by the White House of a new USA Freedom Corps report, Answering the Call to Service. The report details the response from the millions of individuals who have answered the President’s Call to Service and used their power and energy to affect communities across America.
American Red Cross Celebrity Cabinet member and country music star Sara Evans is a member of the President’s Council on Service and Civic Participation, formed by President Bush in 2003 as an extension of his USA Freedom Corps initiative. The Council recognizes the contributions Americans of all ages are making within their communities through service and civic engagement.
|Excerpt from September 8 remarks by the President on volunteerism:
We have seen the good hearts of our people over the last week as caring volunteers have helped their fellow citizens through Hurricane Gustav and Tropical Storm Hanna. The Red Cross, which provides a vital role in helping the relief efforts and recovery efforts, has been spending millions of dollars to provide shelter and food for evacuees and to help with the clean-up efforts. Yet charitable contributions have not kept pace with their expenses, and I hope our fellow citizens will support the Red Cross, particularly as Hurricane Ike and other storms develop over the Gulf Coast. You can help by going to the Red Cross's website -- redcross.org -- and make a vital contribution to help our fellow citizens.
About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and counsels victims of disasters; provides nearly half of the nation's blood supply; teaches lifesaving skills; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a charitable organization – not a government agency – and depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its humanitarian mission. For more information, please visit www.redcross.org or join our blog at www.redcrosschat.org.