Iowa farm couple honored by Presidents Bush and Obama
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WASHINGTON, July 15, 2013 - Presidents Barack Obama and George H.W. Bush made a rare joint appearance today to honor Iowa farm couple Floyd Hammer and Kathy Hamilton, who received the 5,000th Daily Point of Light Award.
Hammer and Hamilton were honored for their non-profit, Outreach, which provides meals to hungry children in 16 countries, including the United States. Outreach's work is focused in Tanzania, where local workers weave baskets that are exchanged for food packaged by volunteers.
Outreach's U.S. operation is based in the farming town of Union, Iowa. There, local volunteers have played a large role in the organization's success. Today during the awards ceremony, Hamilton noted that Outreach has packaged and distributed 236 million meals to needy children since the group's founding.
“Having just been to Tanzania, Michelle and I know how important this kind of work is, how it changes lives,” President Obama said during the ceremony.
Hammer and Hamilton began Outreach after a post-retirement trip to Tanzania, where the couple was struck by the number of “children dying of starvation,” Hamilton said.
“We left for home overwhelmed by the need, and by our need to do something,” she continued.
The occasion also honored President Bush, who began awarding Daily Point of Light Awards to exceptional American volunteers during his presidency. He has continued long after he left office.
“I am one of millions of people who has been inspired by your commitment and passion,” President Obama told Mr. Bush. “On behalf of all of us - we are surely a kinder and gentler nation because of you, and we can't thank you enough.”
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