From Phenix City to Guantanamo Bay, Jay Wortley Uses His Experiences to Help Others

Jay Wortley

Have you ever given your time to a charity, or volunteered a few hours with a nonprofit?

Jay Wortley has. In fact, it’s been his mission for almost 20 years. Born in Phenix City Alabama, he spent years moving to various places; from Phenix City to the Jersey shore, to Guantanamo Bay, and back to Phenix City. After enlisting and serving a brief time with the Army, he returned home to attend trade school. He then worked in the car parts business before getting involved with a volunteer fire department and eventually, the American Red Cross.

Jay Wortley became aware of the Red Cross’ mission and need for volunteers in 2002 through the wife of a fellow church member. Coupled with his past experiences and curiosity for natural disasters, he decided to sign up for disaster response training. He started volunteering shortly after as a Disaster Action Team (DAT) member. Suited well for the role, he was promoted to Captain of DAT, then coordinator, in which he was responsible for ten counties. He was ultimately promoted to Regional DAT Lead, where he handled logistics and case work.

Several years ago he attended a seminar about the soon to be deployed RC View application. The seminar was a presentation of what dispatch for the Red Cross would look like. Accounting for his years of experience and different roles, most recently as a Regional DAT Lead, he was asked to lead the RC View program for the state. As someone who likes to volunteer and doesn’t like to say no, Mr. Wortley accepted the position and after months of training, now works as paid interim staff teaching others how RC View works.

Asked what keeps him going after 18 years of service, he mentioned his strong belief in helping people. Through his work with the fire department and three deployments with the Red Cross, he saw the destruction natural disasters can cause first hand. He believes passionately in making a difference in someone’s life. Not just through an immediate response, but through rebuilding and making things better than they were before.

Over the years, Mr. Wortley has served in many capacities. In that time, he formed core beliefs about the Red Cross and what it stands for. When asked what he would want people to know about it, he said “the Red Cross is a humanitarian organization, which will help you regardless of race, creed, or religion”. He also mentioned “they have an incredible, passionate and dedicated volunteer base”. After talking with Mr. Wortley and seeing what he has done, we agree.

By: David Rauch / Communications Team, American Red Cross of Alabama

Brenda Bivens named as Volunteer of the Month – November 2019

Executive Director, Mike Brown, presents certificate to Brenda Bivens

Brenda Bivens has always been one to be involved in many activities and even into retirement, she keeps herself busy volunteering with the American Red Cross. Brenda got her start with the Red Cross in 1996 as a Community Health and Safety Instructor & HIV & Aid Instructor. It wasn’t long before she was deployed to as supervisor on a Disaster Relief Operation in Washington County, Alabama.

Prior to Brenda joining the Red Cross, she held many different titles. Some of those titles were foster mom, ARC board member, regional representative (to nine countries) of the Foster Adoptive Parent Association of Alabama and Certified Nursing Assistant to name a few.

Brenda retired from the Alabama State of Mental Health Department in after 26 years of service. Here, she assisted in designing, developing and implementing the in-house Day Treatment Program at Searcy Hospital, Mt. Vernon, Alabama which was the first of its kind. Since retiring, Brenda continues to volunteer with the South Alabama chapter of the Red Cross as Community Volunteer Lead. She has held this position since October 2014. It would take twenty minutes to list all the contributions Brenda has made to the Red Cross and her community. She is an invaluable member of our Red Cross family and we are honored to recognize her as volunteer of the month.

Bivens also acts as a Red Cross Ambassador responsible for recruiting volunteers, helping with community outreach and assisting the development team with campaigns in the region. “Brenda is the epitome of One Red Cross,” said Sara Manney, Regional Volunteer Services Officer. “Brenda is always willing to help whenever needed.  You never see her without a smile on her face and a positive attitude.  She has been a pillar volunteer for South Alabama and the region.  We are very fortunate to have her as part of the team.” Thank you, Brenda, for all that you do.

Regardless of your skillset, the American Red Cross can use your expertise and is always in need of volunteers. To learn how you can serve your community as a Red Cross Volunteer go to: