STRAYER: Trump cannot dim a thousand points of light

Published 8:32 am Monday, July 30, 2018

On July 6, 2018, at a political rally in Montana, the President of the United States created another controversy by criticizing former President George H. W. Bush and his family.

President Trump cited his slogans of “Making America Great Again” and “Putting America First” as his “winning” slogans.  Rather than moving on with his speech, the President added, “A thousand points of light, I never quite got that one.  What the hell is that?  Has anyone else figured that one out?”

Pardon me, Mr. President, but millions of Americans and people around the world are fully aware of what the “Thousand Points of Light” is all about.

During his 1989 inaugural address, President George H.W. Bush coined that magical phrase by stating: ” We can find meaning and reward by serving some higher purpose, the illumination of a thousand points of light.  We all have something to give.”

The time line of the development of “A Thousand Points of LIght” is a clear reflection of the strength of local volunteerism, community service and self sacrifice that represents the points of light concept.

In 1990, after his first year in office, President Bush created the Points of Light Foundation.  This led to the Foundation’s merger with the National Volunteer Center Network.

In 1993, President Bill Clinton signed the National and Community Service Trust Act.  Then, President Clinton took the initiative a step further by hosting “The Presidents’ Summit for America’s Future,” highlighting the mission of the Points of Light Foundation.  The participants in this very successful summit were the President and Mrs. Bill Clinton, and former presidents George H.W. Bush, Jimmy Carter, Gerald Ford and Nancy Reagan.

They don’t make summits like that anymore, President Trump!

And then in 2001, the United Nations proclaimed the Year of the Volunteer.

There is a local timeline for volunteerism in Berrien and Cass counties as well.

In 1977, the Niles Service League created the Volunteer Action Center in Niles and hired Kathy Rossow of Buchanan to be its executive director.  Rossow worked hard to make VAC the centerpiece of volunteering in Berrien and Cass County and soon opened a second office in St. Joseph.  VAC became the Volunteer Center of Southwest Michigan and it flourished for the next several decades.  And in 1999, Kathy Rossow, a Niles High School and University of Michigan graduate was appointed to the board of the national Points of Light Foundation.

Rossow worked closely with former Michigan governor George Romney, the Bush family, Gen. Colin and Alma Powell and a host of Washington movers and shakers to harness the power of volunteerism.  Together, they made the Points of Light Foundation a shining example of what can happen when bipartisanship and shared purposes work tgether.

By setting our differences aside, we can all work together again  to make America a better place to live, a place served now by more than a million points of light.

And one of those points of light is my big sister, Kathy Strayer Rossow.  Shine on Sister, shine on.