- The Washington Times - Friday, October 14, 2005

Former President George Bush and wife Barbara yesterday officially dedicated the city’s newest monument, a path of sidewalk medallions honoring some of the country’s most dedicated volunteers.

The Extra Mile-Points of Light Volunteer Pathway was inspired, in part, by Mr. Bush’s belief that volunteer work spreads like “a thousand points of light.”

Among those featured in the first 20 bronze medallions are such volunteers and civic activists as Clara Barton, Eunice Kennedy Shriver and Martin Luther King Jr.

“As [the memorial] helps us reflect on the past contributions and selfless service of the noble Americans memorialized herein, these points of light also offer us a genuine pathway to a brighter future,” Mr. Bush told about 550 people at the ceremony at the Willard Intercontinental Hotel in Northwest. “All we need to do is study their lives and learn from their example.”

The idea for the monument began about 15 years ago with John Johansen, senior director of the Points of Light Foundation, which has overseen the project.

Mr. Johansen choked back tears as he talked about realizing his dream and his desire to reach out to young Americans.

“My ambition for the monument …is to form some positive role models for our kids to look up to,” he said.

The foundation has permission to place as many as 70 of the umbrella-sized medallions along the path, which encompasses Pennsylvania Avenue and G, 11th and 15th streets in Northwest.

Each medallion is set in a base of black granite and includes bas-relief renderings of the honoree, a quotation and brief description of each honoree’s achievements.

Foundation officials said they have raised about $1.5 million of the $3 million needed for the project.

Mr. Bush said the District will pay for setting the remaining medallions into the sidewalks.

The only living honorees, Mrs. Shriver and Millard and Linda Fuller, were joined at the ceremony by about 20 descendants of the other notables.

“We felt God calling us to be his volunteers for the rest of our lives,” said Mrs. Fuller, who co-founded Habitat for Humanity with her husband in 1976. “It’s been quite a journey.”

Mrs. Shriver, 84, started the Special Olympics. Clara Barton founded the American Red Cross.

The ceremony also included a morning presentation at Harriet Tubman Elementary School in Northwest by Nettie Washington Douglass — the great-granddaughter of honoree Booker T. Washington and the great-great-granddaughter of honoree Frederick Douglass.

“To get a chance to see someone related to two great African-Americans, it felt like I was there,” said Stephon Sturdivant, a sixth-grader at the school.

Mrs. Douglass, who saw the medallions earlier in the week, said they are a much-needed tribute to those who have sacrificed so much for so many.

“I was moved to tears,” she said. “When I got there I turned and looked down. It was indescribable.”


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