George H. W. Bush brought to the White House a dedication to traditional American values and a determination to engage the country in becoming "a force for good." In his Inaugural Address, President Bush called on Americans to engage in hands-on, active service to their country and communities.
He called the individuals and groups doing this kind of work “points of light”.
Coming from a family with a tradition of public service, George Herbert Walker Bush wanted to give of his time and talents to his country. He was born in Milton, Massachusetts, on June 12, 1924, and on his 18th birthday he enlisted in the armed forces. The youngest pilot in the Navy when he received his wings, he flew 58 combat missions during World War II. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for bravery in action.
As a young man, Bush became interested in public service and politics. His career in public service began in 1963, when he was elected chairman of the Harris County (Texas) Republican Party. He was elected in 1966 to the U.S. House of Representatives from Texas' Seventh District and served two terms. Before serving as vice president from 1981 to 1989, President Bush held a number of senior-level positions.
In 1980 Bush campaigned for the Republican nomination for President. He lost, but was chosen as a running mate by Ronald Reagan and served two terms as vice-president. In 1988 Bush won the Republican nomination for President and was elected in the face of a dramatically changing world.
While in office, President Bush signed into effect the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Clean Air Act — landmark civil rights and environmental legislation. He also successfully fought for and negotiated the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which was later signed into law.
Since leaving office, President Bush has helped to raise hundreds of millions of dollars for charity. He is active on the M. D. Anderson Cancer Center Board of Visitors, serves with Mrs. Bush as Honorary Co-Chair of C-Change; and is honorary chairman of the Points of Light Institute. He also takes an active role in The George Bush Presidential Library and Museum, and the George Bush School of Government and Public Service, both located on the campus of Texas A&M University.
At the request of his son, President George W. Bush, President George H. W. Bush worked with President Bill Clinton to help raise funds to aid in the relief efforts following the catastrophic tsunami in Southeast Asia and Hurricane Katrina in the Gulf Coast states. In 2006, President George H. W. Bush served as U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan's Special Envoy for the South Asia earthquake. Following the destruction caused by Hurricane Ike on the Gulf Coast in September of 2008, President Bush again joined with President Clinton to form the Bush-Clinton Gulf Coast Recovery Fund to aid in the reconstruction of Gulf Coast infrastructure.
George and Barbara Bush have five children – George, John (known as Jeb), Neil, Marvin, and Dorothy – and 17 grandchildren. The Bushes have been married 65 years and reside in Houston, Texas, and Kennebunkport, Maine.