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Volunteering to inspire
Turlock man achieves service milestone with American Red Cross
Dustin Parks
Dustin Parks of Turlock takes a photo with the American Red Cross’ President's Volunteer Service Award, which he was awarded for completing 700 hours of community service with the organization (Photo contributed).

Dustin Parks of Turlock always felt compelled to serve others. During the COVID-19 pandemic, he finally found the time to offer his services, signing up to volunteer with the American Red Cross. Since then, he has been awarded the President's Volunteer Service Award for 700 hours of community service, and he has no signs of slowing down.

“I wanted something that was remote and virtual, considering we had a pandemic at that time,” Parks explained. “So I just thought, ‘Why don't you try American Red Cross?’”

Parks, 31, has volunteered in the biggest division of the American Red Cross, the Volunteer Intake Processing Center for the organization’s national headquarters. From his home, Parks processes volunteer applications and helps applicants complete the necessary steps they need to become an official member of the Red Cross team. The process includes interviewing applicants and connecting them with service projects that most fits their skills and interests.

“The Red Cross really struck me because there are people who are suffering,” Parks explained. “Even though I know I've had hardships, there are people that have had even more and have gone through a lot, a lot more severe than I have. They’re losing their homes. They're losing electricity. They don't have basic supplies…I'm actually helping with that, helping indirectly to fill those volunteer positions. That's what really struck my heart a little bit.”

While he is honored to receive the President's Volunteer Service Award, he stressed the fact that he achieved the 700 hours milestone so quickly goes to show the need for volunteers.

“My focus isn't about the reward, it's actually about people,” Parks said. “It's just a reminder to me about why I'm doing this. It's about service. It is about service entirely for other people. It is what other people, especially those who are facing disasters and facing injustices in our nation and in the world. That's what it's about and that’s the mission of the Red Cross, is to help others.”

Parks encourages folks to consider volunteering for the American Red Cross by logging on to

“Like I said, the need is there. We are processing so many volunteers every year,” he said. “A lot of people need the help, so help out as much as you can.”