Our Salute to 41 at 91

Jun 12, 2015 4:25 PM ET
Upon winning the Daily Point of Light Award, 14-year-old Joe Ziskovsky meets President George H. W. Bush.

The following is a note from Points of Light CEO Tracy Hoover.

Twenty-five years ago President George H. W. Bush, Points of Light’s founder, created the Daily Point of Light Award to celebrate individuals who were making a difference in their communities – and their world – through volunteer service.

Today, in recognition of his 91st birthday, we want to honor him with just one small example of how his vision for this award has changed and continues to change lives around the country.

In 1990, Joe Ziskovsky was just 14 when he was named Daily Point of Light #91. As an Eagle Scout, he mobilized volunteers in Shoreview, Minnesota, to distribute 3,500 donated trees and educational brochures to every child in three elementary schools in his school district. Little did he dream that this project would lead to national recognition and a chance to meet the president of the United States.  

Today, at age 39, Joe continues his community involvement – as a swim coach and instructor to learners of all ages, with the Boy Scouts, and as a dad to his two rescue mixed terriers, one of which is deaf. 

As he says in his birthday message to President Bush below, “I know I find methods and ways to give to my community to this day, driven by the sense of pride your selection of me created.”

The Daily Point of Light Award created a spark that has ignited our service movement by shining a light on almost 5,500 individuals and organizations, and inspiring millions more! President Bush, your vision continues to change lives and communities all across our great country – and around the world. 

On your birthday today, we hope you will read the message below from Joe, Daily Point of Light #91, and bask just a little in the glow from the galaxy of light you have created! Happy Birthday, President Bush.

Dear Mr. President:

As you celebrate your 91st birthday, I would like to extend to you a message of thanks and goodwill.

As a teenager, you forever changed my world when you selected me as your 91st Point of Light. I was too young to fully comprehend what had happened, or understand why I was being honored for something that I had done simply to help out my community (well... and earn my Eagle Scout badge), but your selection has had nothing but a profound effect on my life, then and to this day.

I can honestly tell you that meeting you and your lovely wife, in front of Air Force One (both of which were brand new back then!!!), is still at the top of my "most amazing life events" list.

Your principles of unselfish service to others and community involvement have lasted the test of time. They are among the many things that I know you are proud of in your legacy. I know I find methods and ways to give to my community to this day, driven by the sense of pride your selection of me created.

A good volunteer does not do anything to get recognition, but is gracious in receiving it.

So, for the Point of Light Emeritus – as I would think of you – I hope that your 91st year is fruitful, full of life's passion and adventures, marked with joy and celebration, and most importantly, remembered happily by the many persons around the globe and close to home whom your life's actions have touched.

A very Happy Birthday to you, sir, and may God bless you, Mr. President, for another year as well as the United States of America.

Yours in the brotherhood of service,

Joseph (Joe) Ziskovsky, Daily Point of Light #91