Thank you, Mr. President: A Tribute to Barack Obama as Servant in-Chief

Thank you, Mr. President. For the past decade you have fostered my love for social justice based community service. You have modeled at the highest level what it looks like to serve the common good with charm, prudence, and durability. Because of your legacy of leadership I am a more dedicated servant than I was before.

And what a legacy it was. With more than one true birthplace, you became a dashing yet humble messenger of peace and prosperity for the entire globe. You showed us how to guard against cynicism. You showed us how to hitch our wagons to something bigger than ourselves. You showed us time and again that you will be right there with us, and out of all the decisions we have made as a young nation struggling to be morally civilized, you may be our best one yet.

In the end, you gave us more than a creed. You gave us a powerful reason to believe in change. By investing in the infrastructure of civic education, and by mitigating against the malevolent forces of racism, nationalism, corporatism, and imperialism, you showed us how to make the words of Archbishop Desmond Tutu come alive. In the conflict laden theater of daily life, you should, “Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.”

Today, America is a better, stronger nation than it was when we started this revolution of hope back in 2008. You gave us a politics that reflects the decency of people.

Thank you, Mr. President. You will be more than missed.

*The letter below will always be one of my most cherished honors.

George Payne’s 2010 President’s Volunteer Service Award. Presented by the President’s Counsil on Service and Civic Participation.

Response from White House


Dear George:

Thank you for writing.  Serving as President has been the greatest privilege of my life, and messages like yours have motivated and informed me along the way.  We should be proud of what we have accomplished together.

Through trial and triumph, America has always overcome challenges and emerged stronger because we’ve come together as one people.  And our progress depends on folks like you who speak out on issues that matter to them.  I look forward to standing alongside you as a private citizen, working to ensure our Nation lives up to our highest ideals as a beacon of hope and opportunity.


Barack Obama

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