The days surrounding the presentation of this incredible award were truly a whirlwind. Floyd and Kathy were in Tanzania when they received a call to be at the White House on Monday the 15th of July! On the Friday before, they flew back home to Union, Iowa, then on Sunday flew to Washington, DC. The next day they were honored and flew back to Iowa the same evening!
While checking in at an airport desk in DC, the airline representative said, “I know you.” As they walked off the escalator in Des Moines airport late Monday night, a gentleman (whom they did not know) stepped out of the assembly of people waiting for their friends and family and congratulated them. They felt like movie stars and it touched them deeply.
President Barack Obama, right, presented the 5,000th Daily Point of Light Award to Floyd Hammer and Kathy Hamilton, from Union, Iowa, in the East Room of the White House in Washington, DC, Monday, July 15, 2013. Points of Light is the world’s largest organization dedicated to volunteer service, mobilizing millions of people to take action that is changing the world and recognizing individuals who are making a difference through service and volunteerism. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
In presenting the award, President Obama recognized the important contribution of President George H.W. Bush who, 23 years ago, created the Points of Light Award. He sought to recognize Americans who serve their neighbors and give back to their communities every day, often with very few resources, very little recognition and in innovative ways that inspire us all. President Bush knew that the Spirit of Service was vital to our national character.
President Obama said that The Outreach Program provided an extraordinary example of how service can lift people’s lives. He was pleased to present the 5000th Point of Light Award to Floyd and Kathy, an extraordinary couple who have done so much for so many people.
In expressing thanks for the award, Kathy explained how the original 2000 meals were packed in their small town of Union, Iowa, with the help of local volunteers. She noted: “We had to help, and others were eager to help us. We have seen time and time again how, when people give of themselves, when they share the burden and the task of solving it, light shines and love grows, all over the world and here at home.”
Our friends called to ask, “What was it like being in the White House and meeting two Presidents?” How do you put it into words? It was incredible, we were so humbled and honored. The Presidents and their lovely wives were so gracious and kind, and we met many people that we see on the news. President Obama said, “Go enjoy the food, we have a really good cook!” The hor d’oeuvres were great, the experience was beyond description, and to this day it is one of the most memorable events of our lives. As I write this, I still feel the emotion of that day and feel the caring and happiness coming from everyone who participated by being there or sharing with us at home watching on their television — thank you! And President H. W. Bush’s socks were great!
~Co-Founder, Floyd Hammer