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 > Little League Online > Media > Little League News Archive > 2007 > George and Barbara Bush to be Honored at Little League International Congress

George and Barbara Bush to be Honored at Little League International Congress

WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. (March 26, 2007) – George H.W. Bush, 41st President of the United States, and former First Lady Barbara Bush, will attend the final event of the four-day Little League International Congress in Houston, April 16.

Dr. Creighton J. Hale, then president and chief executive officer of Little League Baseball and Softball, poses for a photo with President George H.W. Bush and First Lady Barbara Bush at a 1989 White House ceremony honoring Little League’s 50th anniversary. Hundreds of Little Leaguers and Little League officials attended the event on the South Lawn. A few days later, President and Mrs. Bush, along with Dr. Hale, traveled to Poland to personally deliver the first charter certificates to Little Leagues behind the former Iron Curtain. Dr. Hale remains a member of the Little League International Board of Directors, as well as a trustee of the Little League Foundation. Photo courtesy of the George Bush Presidential Library.

“Little League is tremendously honored to welcome President and Mrs. Bush to the International Congress,” Stephen D. Keener, president and chief executive officer of Little League International, said. “It will be our opportunity to express our gratitude to the Bush family, not only for their friendship with Little League over the years, but for their service to our country and humanity as well.”

The event to be attended by President and Mrs. Bush at the International Congress is the Chairman’s Luncheon, beginning at 11:30 a.m., at the Hilton Americas hotel. Attending will be Little League volunteer district administrators and assistant district administrators from around the world, helping to recognize Little League’s “First Family.”

“I know our volunteers from around the world will be thrilled to hear from the first U.S. President to attend the International Congress, and to help us honor Little League’s First Family,” Tim Hughes, chairman of the Little League International Board of Directors, said. “Volunteers in Little League, giving to their community for the greater good of society, are inspired by people like George and Barbara Bush, and the Bush family.”

George H.W. Bush, then a businessman in Midland, Texas, helped coach his son’s Little League teams in the 1950s. Mrs. Bush drove players to and from Little League games and practices, and was a scorekeeper.

Thirty-four years later, President and Mrs. Bush welcomed hundreds of Little Leaguers and Little League officials to the South Lawn of the White House for a celebration of the 50th anniversary of Little League’s founding. A few days after that, President Bush traveled to Poland and personally delivered the first Little League charter certificates to new programs behind the old Iron Curtain.

In 1995, President Bush was recognized as the Peter O’Malley Distinguished Little League Ambassador at the Little League International Congress in Reno, Nev. He was not able to attend that event, however, accepting the honor with a video message.

In 2000, President and Mrs. Bush’s son, George W. Bush, became the first Little League graduate to be elected President. Each year, President Bush and First Lady Laura Bush invite Little Leaguers to the White House for Tee Ball on the South Lawn games, as a way to increase interest in baseball among young families.

Since leaving office in 1993, President Bush became involved in a variety of humanitarian projects. Most notable among these projects recently are his efforts, along with former President Bill Clinton, to rebuild areas of Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India, Thailand and other countries that were devastated by the Indian Ocean tsunami in December 2004, as well as U.S. Gulf Coast areas hit by hurricanes in 2005. Barbara Bush has been known for many years for her efforts to promote child literacy, which has led to several schools and libraries being named in her honor.

The Little League International Congress, first launched in 1956, is held every three years. About 500 district administrators, each representing their constituent leagues as delegates, engage in roundtable discussion and assemble in convention to provide comprehensive review of the Little League program, including rules and regulations. These discussions provide the basis for administration of the program at all levels, and chart the course of the Little League movement for the next three years. The first day of the 2007 International Congress will be April 13.

Little League Baseball and Softball is the world’s largest organized youth sports program, with nearly 2.7 million players and 1 million adult volunteers in every U.S. state and scores of other countries.

A young George W. Bush, flanked by his mother and father in this photo, would later become the first Little League graduate to be elected President of the United States. Photo courtesy of the George Bush Presidential Library.

George W. Bush, wearing his uniform from Midland (Texas) Central Little League, holds younger brother Jeb in this 1955 photo. Jeb, who also went on to play Little League, recently ended his second term as Governor of Florida. Photo courtesy of the George Bush Presidential Library.