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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release February 26, 1996
                        REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT
                           AND THE FIRST LADY
                         TO BERNICE YOUNG JONES

The Oval Office

10:00 A.M. EST

MRS. CLINTON: Well, we want to welcome all of you -- that's my role, because I am very enthusiastic about this award. I think it is a real indication of a lifetime of work and compassion and caring. So many people have been touched by your generosity. And it is something that the President and I and others here in the White House from Arkansas thought deserved more recognition. So we are delighted to have this day occur.

MS. JONES: Thank you.

THE PRESIDENT: I want to begin, Bernice, by welcoming members of your family and your friends here, and we're especially glad to have Senator Bumpers and Congressman Hutchinson come.

I learned this morning something I did not know -- that this is your first trip to Washington. Well, to have managed to live as many years as you have --

MS. JONES: Ninety. (Laughter.)

THE PRESIDENT: -- without ever coming to Washington, that alone is justification for this award. (Laughter.)

MS. JONES: And that's my sister and it's her first trip, and she's 92.

MRS. CLINTON: Is that right?

THE PRESIDENT: Well, neither one of you look it, and we're glad to have you. (Laughter.)

MRS. CLINTON: That's probably why they look so good. (Laughter.)

THE PRESIDENT: Let me say that, for me, personally, this is a great pleasure because I know very well of the extraordinary work you have done for health care in Arkansas, for education, and of course, the center you established in your name and your late husband's name for families in Springdale. The things that you have done and stood for and tried to help are the things that all of us in America should be trying to advance. And you are a shining example for philanthropy in our country.

I can only hope that every state will find someone like you to help do what needs to be done. And it is for that reason that I wanted to give you this President's Citizens Medal. And I'm very glad you decided to take leave of your very good policy and at least one time come to Washington, D.C. (Laughter.)

MS. JONES: Thank you so much. I appreciate it for myself, my family, my friends, my wonderful Springdale, and Arkansas.

THE PRESIDENT: I'd like to ask my military aide now to read the citation.

(The citation is read): The President of the United States of America awards this Presidential Citizens Medal to Bernice Young Jones.

Bernice Young Jones has spent a lifetime sharing her time, vision and resources with others. Working alongside her husband, Harvey, she helped build a thriving transportation business, all the while devoting the fruits of their labor to the betterment of their community, their state, and their country.

With the generosity equalled only by her humility, Bernice Jones has given of herself tirelessly, helping to build or support a wide variety of hospitals, colleges, family centers, and community and religious institutions. She exemplifies our nation's finest tradition of service.

Guided by her strong faith and quiet compassion, Bernice Jones has given gifts of hope and inspiration that will enrich Americans for generations to come.

The White House. Washington, D.C. February 26, 1996.

MS. JONES: Thank you.

(The medal is presented by the President.) (Applause.)

END 10:10 A.M. EST