Points of Light Award winner connects former President’s service to his own

84-year-old continues to read to kids

Points of Light Award winner connects former President’s service to his own

CUSHING, TX (KTRE) - One thing people remember about George H. W. Bush is his commitment to service. A man in Cushing shares that same desire to serve others, which led to his becoming a recipient of a Point of Light Award.

After serving in the U.S. Navy, being an honors student at Johns-Hopkins, and working as a scientist for NASA, Ray Hartenstein feels he still has a lot to offer his community.

“I wanted to give something back,” Hartenstein said.

He gave back by reading and giving books to kids.

“Kids need books," Hartenstein said. "It’s amazing, no matter how affluent a certain community is, you’ll find the kids don’t have decent books to read at home.”

He does a lot of book sharing with the students.

“He probably goes to five or six different schools and takes books for kids to take home with them and keep, so that they have the opportunity to have a new book at home, because some of our kids do not have books at home," said Cushing Elementary librarian Valori Poskey.

It was 2015 when he was recognized by the Points of Light organization, which was established by the George H. W. Bush administration. He was nominated by Poskey, who says Hartenstein has been a positive role model for their students.

“Some of these kids don’t have role models that read to them or with them, and Mr. H. supports that for them also,” Poskey said.

“He gets them so excited about literature and about reading and the books that he brings are just great quality books,” said principal Stefani Jackson.

Hartenstein says reading to these kids has brought him great joy, and that being recognized by the points of light reminds him of Bush’s dedicated service to others.

“What’s your purpose in life if you’re not giving something back? That was his primary purpose, I think as he said, you know living a fruitful, and compassionate life, helping those around you,” Hartenstein said.

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