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Press Release

George and Barbara Bush to be Honored by Americares

  • July 11, 2017
  • President George H.W. Bush (center) on the tarmac in Houston with Mrs. Bush (right) and Americares Founder Bob Macauley (left) after a December 1993 aid mission to Croatia. Photo by Phil Farnsworth/Americares.

Stamford, Conn. July 11, 2017 – President George H.W. Bush and Mrs. Barbara Bush will be honored for their dedication to humanitarian causes at the 30th annual Americares Airlift Benefit in October. The Bushes will be the inaugural recipients of the Bob and Leila Macauley Humanitarian Spirit Award. Named for the founders of Americares, the award honors outstanding individuals who exemplify extraordinary courage and commitment to humanitarian endeavors and making a difference in the world.

“The Bushes have been champions of Americares since the very beginning, graciously supporting our health programs and participating in aid missions all over the world,” said Americares President and CEO Michael J. Nyenhuis. “We are pleased to honor them as the first recipients of the Bob and Leila Macauley Humanitarian Spirit Award. We look forward to celebrating their contributions and our history together at the upcoming benefit.”

A childhood friend and classmate of Bob Macauley, Mr. Bush was one of Americares earliest supporters. Both he and the former first lady traveled overseas with Americares to help deliver essential medicines, food, shelter and medical supplies for families suffering in the midst of famine, war and natural disasters. From 1984 to 1993, Mrs. Bush served as the honorary chairwoman of Americares Doctors to All Peoples program, which sent volunteer physicians on overseas medical missions. Mrs. Bush became Americares first—and only—ambassador-at-large in 1993.

In addition to their work with Americares, the Bushes have devoted their lives to promoting volunteerism, encouraging public service, improving literacy and supporting cancer treatment and research. Most notably, they have been dedicated supporters of Points of Light, the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy, The Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University and the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. A representative of the Bush family will accept the award on their behalf.

“We are truly honored to be the recipients of the first Bob and Leila Macauley Humanitarian Spirit Award,” Mrs. Bush said. “Their vision all those years ago, that resulted in the birth of Americares, is a shining example of what can be accomplished when you have the heart, the will, and never quit looking for the way. It’s been a privilege to play a tiny part in Americares, and even more so to have called these two dear, wonderful people our friends.”

The humanitarian award is named for Americares founders Bob and Leila Macauley, who built the organization into the world’s leading nonprofit provider of donated medicine and medical supplies. To date, Americares has provided more than $15 billion in aid to 164 countries. Bob Macauley served as CEO for 23 years and remained chairman until his death in 2010. Leila Macauley remains an active member of the Americares board, serving as its permanent vice chairman.

The 30th annual Americares Airlift Benefit will be held on Saturday, October 14, 2017, at the JP Morgan Chase Hangar at Westchester County Airport in White Plains, NY. Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” will co-host the inspirational evening celebrating Americares health programs in more than 90 countries. The event culminates with a spectacular sendoff as a group of guests depart on an exciting 24-hour journey to Guatemala to see Americares health programs in action.

For tickets or more information about the benefit, go to