George W. Bush photo

Remarks on the Observance of National Park Week and National Volunteer Week and an Exchange With Reporters

April 23, 2001

The President. It's my honor for me to welcome and to be in the presence of one of my finest ambassadors. The White House, I often say, doesn't belong to Laura and me; it belongs to the American people. And William Toth is a volunteer who works hard every day to ensure that every American feels right at home in the White House.

Mr. Toth has lived a life of service. In World War II, he served with distinction in General George Patton's army. He later became a professor at New York University. He worked hard to put his own daughters through college, and when the youngest graduated, he retired. But he refused to rest.

For the last 9 years, Mr. Toth has been bringing smiles to visitors' faces as they arrive at the White House. Whether handing out gold coins to visiting children or passing out stories to adults, William makes sure that everyone leaves the White House with a memory.

America owes a great debt to William Toth. But like millions of volunteers across America, he will never ask us to repay it. And that's what makes his service, and the service of so many other volunteers, so unique.

The National Park Service has some of the best volunteers in the Nation. Whether it's here at the White House, at other sites around the Nation's Capital, or at the national parks around the country, National Park Service volunteers perform their duties with the simple goal of helping Americans enjoy our national treasures. They keep us connected to our history and help preserve America's natural beauty for future generations to enjoy.

That's why it's particularly fitting this week that we recognize both America's volunteers and America's national parks, for they both bring great joy to countless Americans.

At 77, William Toth continues to win over everyone he sees. In a letter she sent me last month, his daughter Dawn wrote, "I just want to let you know who you have in your corner. In some ways, he's America's most important diplomat. And he'll make you look darn good." I know that can sometimes be a difficult task, and I appreciate all the help I can get, William. [Laughter]

The truth is, Mr. Toth, you make America look darn good. I want to thank you for your tireless dedication, for working here at the White House. I want to thank the volunteers at the National Park Service, and the American people thank you from the bottom of their heart.

God bless.

Arms Sales to Taiwan

Q. Mr. President, will Taiwan get the Aegis radar system this time?

Q. ——sale to Taiwan?

The President. You'll find out when we make the—I make my decision clear.

Q. Have you made your decision, sir?

The President. Yes. I haven't made it clear yet, though. We'll let you know soon.

NOTE: The President spoke at 1:57 p.m. on the South Lawn at the White House. In his remarks, he referred to Dawn Foreman, Tracy Toth, and Melissa Eckert, daughters of Mr. Toth.

George W. Bush, Remarks on the Observance of National Park Week and National Volunteer Week and an Exchange With Reporters Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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