California Hero Honored with Award for AmeriCorps Service in Disaster Relief with Red Cross LA
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Corporation for National and Community Service, the federal agency for service, has awarded Ocean Mansour Sakr the Excellence in AmeriCorps Award for Most Influential Service at this year’s virtual AmeriCorps Symposium. Ocean was nominated for his disaster preparedness and relief efforts with California Safe Corps. He was recognized alongside four other AmeriCorps honorees representing the best of national service.
As an AmeriCorps member with the California Safe Corps, a program sponsored by the American Red Cross Los Angeles Region, Ocean focused on preparing communities for disasters by providing free disaster preparedness education, delivering CPR and First Aid certification training to vulnerable communities, responding to local and national disasters, and recruiting and engaging volunteers. Ocean’s eye for detail and passion for service quickly promoted him from Recovery Team Member to Recovery Team Lead, eventually culminating in a role as the Territory Disaster Education Lead.
A leader in California Safe Corps, he built the Recovery Casework Team, which continuously onboarded and trained new volunteers, growing the program’s impact. Ocean went above and beyond direct service as he trained new volunteers, guided new AmeriCorps members in disaster preparedness education, and developed training resources to ensure program sustainability.
Now in its sixth year, the Excellence in AmeriCorps Awards were created to recognize the outstanding and innovative AmeriCorps programs, members, and alumni tackling our nation’s most-pressing challenges. This year’s winners were honored at the annual AmeriCorps Symposium, held virtually in 2020.
“Ocean Mansour Sakr’s work with California Safe Corps is a prime example of the innovation of our AmeriCorps members, whose service has the power to impact communities and change lives,” said Chester Spellman, director of AmeriCorps. “In the face of unprecedented and devasting wildfires, the AmeriCorps members, like Ocean, who are supporting California communities to prepare and respond, show extraordinary leadership and courage. As we navigate challenging times, our Excellence in AmeriCorps awardees bring a message of hope: the spirit of service in America is alive and well.”
“Answering the call to serve your nation is among the most noble acts. Ocean Mansour Sakr didn’t stop there, consistently going above and beyond the call to serve and support others. As we face unprecedented threats – from a global pandemic and climate-change fueled wildfire - our community, our State of California, and our country are undoubtedly richer and more resilient thanks to Ocean’s leadership,” said Congresswoman Linda T. Sánchez (D-CA). “I am so proud of Ocean’s recognition from AmeriCorps. Indeed, Ocean represents the very best among us.”
As large swaths of the nation face unprecedented natural disasters alongside a public health crisis, AmeriCorps is poised to respond. While teams of AmeriCorps members deploy to Hurricane Laura relief efforts, more are joining the fight against the devasting wildfires on the West Coast, just as teams remain on the ground responding to the effects of the Derecho in Iowa. Even as they address these arising challenges, AmeriCorps maintains a sustained effort to fight hunger, keep communities safe, and facilitate youth education in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Since the program’s inception in 1994, more than 1.1 million AmeriCorps members have served the nation, giving more than 1.6 billion hours of service and earning nearly $4 billion in education awards. Every year, the 75,000 AmeriCorps members prepare students for success, rebuild communities and revitalize cities, support veterans, fight the opioid epidemic, respond to disasters, preserve public lands, foster economic opportunity, and more.