Volunteers honored for dedication to Red Cross
Published 12:03 am Thursday, July 16, 2015
Janice Castleberry and Kevin Kennedy are in the helping people business.
Castleberry and Kennedy were given volunteer of the of year awards from the American Red Cross on Wednesday morning for their service to the organization that provides disaster relief, blood donation services, health, safety and international services.
Castleberry was given the 2015 Blood Services Volunteer of the Year award, and Kennedy was given the 2015 Disaster Services Volunteer of the Year award. Additionally, Castleberry was given a pin for her 50 years of service to the American Red Cross.
“It’s been wonderful experience I’d have to say,” Castleberry said. “I’m a people person. I love people. I love helping people.”
Castleberry worked in the Red Level school office for 30 years. Her late husband, Johnny, served on the county commission for 20 years.
Castleberry said she was shocked to get the award.
“Where there’s a need, I’m ready to help,” she said.
Kennedy, the county’s maintenance director and Red Cross volunteer, said he was given the award because of his action as a team leader on disasters.
He said he’s always had the willingness to help others.
“This is a great avenue; this is a great organization,” Kennedy said.
Kennedy said he’s been volunteering for 12 years.
In fact, Castleberry recruited Kennedy to volunteer and establish a hurricane shelter when Hurricane Ivan came to shore in 2004.
“Ms. Janice met me when I started to work for the county,” Kennedy said. “We had a disaster and we met in the hallway. She hit me up to help establish a shelter for Ivan. She said, ‘I need some help.’ We ended up setting up some cots and beds over at the senior citizens center.”
In October, the local chapter of the Red Cross was merged with seven other counties to become known as the South Alabama Chapter. Those counties include Choctaw, Washington, Mobile, Baldwin, Clarke, Monroe, Escambia, Butler, Conecuh, and Crenshaw counties. Volunteers staff the local office.
While receiving the awards was a great honor for Castleberry and Kennedy, both said there is still a great need for Red Cross volunteers.
Kennedy said the Red Cross’s website is a great tool for the younger generation.
“It’s a great tool for these younger generations to sign up to be a volunteer,” he said.
Those interested in volunteering for the Alabama Red Cross can visit their website at www.redcross.org/alabama.