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Obama to honor George H.W. Bush's volunteer efforts, promote national service

Former U.S. President George H.W. Bush speaks at the World Leadership Summit in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates November 21, 2006. REUTERS/S
Former U.S. President George H.W. Bush speaks at the World Leadership Summit in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates November 21, 2006. REUTERS/S

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama will salute volunteer efforts by former President George H.W. Bush on Monday and launch a task force to expand national service, a White House official said.

At a White House event, Obama and first lady Michelle Obama will honor the 5,000th "Daily Point of Light" award recognizing a volunteer or nonprofit service providing organization. Bush, who will attend, established the award in 1989 as part of his efforts to recognize and promote volunteer work and will be at the event.

The two presidents were last together at the dedication of the presidential library of Bush's son, former President George W. Bush, in April. Bush, 89, was confined to a wheelchair at that event.

The award is going to an Iowa couple, Floyd Hammer and Kathy Hamilton, who are the founders of a nonprofit that delivers free meals to children in the United States and around the world.

Former first lady Barbara Bush will also be attend the event. Afterward, the Bushes and the Obamas will have lunch together, a White House official said.

The meeting with the Bushes comes two weeks after the president participated at a event in Tanzania with former President George W. Bush.

Obama is expected to announce the creation of a new task force that will identify ways to enlist private sector support for national voluntary service, the White House official said.

In the past year, the government has created volunteer groups that work with the Federal Emergency Management Agency on disaster response and with the Education Department to improve school performance, the White House said.

(Reporting By Mark Felsenthal; Editing by Stacey Joyce)

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