Mort’s relationship with the Red Cross started over twenty-six years ago when he approached the organization as a volunteer.
“In 1990, Santa Barbara was hit with a massive wildfire and I showed up at my local Red Cross chapter to see how I could be of help. In those days, there were no local disaster mental health workers. So, with a degree in psychology, I volunteered to serve in that capacity and also to be a chaplain to those whose lives had been impacted,” said Mort.
Since then, Mort has worked with Red Cross in different capacities, from volunteer to disaster chaplain to teacher. In 1996, Mort led the first-ever Red Cross Fundamentals of Disaster Spiritual Care training offered nationwide.
Mort’s calling to disaster response in general started at an early age. “I became a Junior Lifeguard at the age of 13. From that point on, I’ve been a responder to areas of human difficulties and trauma,” said Mort.
During his first thirty years of general parish ministry, Mort simultaneously served as a firefighter, EMT, and public safety chaplain. After spending years working on various trauma response efforts outside the parishes he served, Mort was confronted with an in-parish conflict that impelled him to seek more specialized training.
“I was called to serve a parish that I discovered later on was in conflict. Not only did I not know how to deal with that kind of situation, I didn’t even know that kind of thing existed! After struggling there for seven long years I finally resigned that position and went to the Alban Institute to learn how to avoid such things in the future,” Mort said.
At the Alban Institute, Mort found a new profession that revolved around responding to congregations in trouble. Mort went on to serve the next 20 years as an Interim Pastor, specializing in traumatized congregations, for the interdenominational Interim Ministry Network.
In 2013, Mort was invited by ICTG Executive Director to join the ICTG Board of Directors.
“I accepted the offer almost immediately,” said Mort, “For me, ICTG represents the convergence of a life commitment to be of service to people experiencing the worst of times. It’s a true joy to be part of an organization that has the ability to offer so much hope and expertise to people in troubled faith communities.”
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