60 Years of Literacy: The 1987 President’s Volunteer Action Awards

President Ronald Reagan presents an award to Ruth Colvin at the White House

On June 30, 1987, President Ronald Reagan addressed a crowd in the White House State Dining Room. Within his remarks, he referred to the American spirit of volunteering:

Perhaps the most striking thing about Americans is their generosity of spirit. The famous chronicler of early 19th-century America, the Frenchman de Tocqueville, remarked upon this quality. He went back after visiting America, and he said: These Americans are the most peculiar people in the world; no sooner do they recognize a need that isn’t being met than they round up their neighbors, form a committee, and start addressing that need.

President Reagan honored eighteen individuals, nonprofits, labor unions, and corporations for their work at that event, including Ruth Colvin on the 25th anniversary of the literacy program that, at that time, had grown into Literacy Volunteers of America, with affiliates in more than 150 cities across the country, including Literacy Volunteers of Greater Syracuse.

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