By Crystal Thompson
On a given day, one can visit any number of Havre's charitable organizations and see a volunteer in action. But this week, Kitty Keepers, The Haven and other local organizations welcome a very different kind of volunteer to their teams.
Glenn Parkhurst is not your average "do-gooder." Rather than offering a few hours a week to a charitable cause, Parkhurst has dedicated an entire year to volunteering and raising awareness about the need for volunteers across America.
As part of his mission to volunteer in all 50 states in one year, Parkhurst made his way into Havre early this week and began his work at Kitty Keepers Tuesday morning. Parkhurst is an independent volunteer and uses United Way agencies across America to put him in contact with charities in each state. Montana marks Parkhurst's 34th state.
Parkhurst grew up in a military family and moved a lot as a child. He was eager to return to his nomadic ways once his own children were grown, he said. Parkhurst raised his family in New Jersey, where he was an active volunteer with activities like Cub Scouts, Little League and his local church. Late last year, Parkhurst decided that he had reached a point in his life where he needed to make a change; so he quit his job, sold his house and decided to travel across the United States.
Parkhurst said that his original plan was to simply travel throughout the states, checking out different areas and meeting new people, but he wanted to do something more. Parkhurst soon decided that volunteering at each of his destinations would make for a much more interesting journey.
"It just evolved into a mission," Parkhurst said.
Parkhurst said that his volunteering has a dual purpose, he is able to help every community he visits and he is able to show that community the many types of volunteer opportunities that are available in the area.
"There's a multitude of things you can do," he said.
Parkhurst said that volunteering has given him a high level of personal satisfaction and gives him a chance to give back to his country. He said that he wants people to know that it doesn't take a lot of time to help make this country a better place to live.
As of now, Parkhurst has no plans for next year. He said that he may begin looking for job opportunities and a place to settle down as his year of volunteering comes to a close, "... or I might just start all over again," he said.