Rope ‘Em, Cowgirl!


Annual Girlfriend Gala Wrangles in Donations for United Way of Cullman County


CULLMAN – On Thursday night, the ladies of Cullman donned their best boots and cowgirl hats for the 4th Annual Girlfriend Gala. This year’s theme for the gala was Cowgirls for a Cause and was hosted by United Way of Cullman County at the Cullman Civic Center.


The fun theme, great prizes and atmosphere of the event led to a successful night that everyone enjoyed. The night was started by participants decorating their tables, creating custom designed tablescapes, which is a Girlfriend Gala tradition. The ladies did not disappoint this year as tables were extravagantly decorated, sometimes four feet off of the table. Saddles, wagon wheels and lanterns were favorite pieces used by different tables throughout the hall.


By the time everyone was settled, it was time for a delicious meal catered by Jim ‘N Nick’s Community Bar-B-Q. Pork or turkey sandwiches, potato salad, baked beans and scrumptious cornbread were all huge hits with the guests. After the meal was finished, it was time to have some fun. Line dancing and a ride on a mechanical bull were a couple of activities that were sure to give all the ladies a laugh and a thrill.


“We got so many compliments about the event and how fun and laid back it was,” said Executive Director of United Way, Sammie Danford. “Because no one had to get dressed up or go out looking for something to wear. The mechanical bull was also a big hit and was one of my favorite parts. The man running it was kind to me when I took a ride.”


A silent auction was also held with a number of generous businesses who contributed some wonderful items. For example, Jack’s Western Wear donated two pairs of boots, one pair Alabama and one pair Auburn, which were valued at $400 per pair. Another great item up for grabs was a beautiful lime green bike for women, contributed by Regions Bank.


Danford and Marketing Director Katelyn Sides have been adamantly working in the community for the past year doing their best to give the local United Way a revamp.


“All of this money is to help United Way support 14 other non-profit agencies here in the area,” said Danford. “We touch about 20,000 people every quarter through supporting these agencies.”


One participant had a story to share that was close to home and explained why she supports the local United Way chapter.


“I am having a great time tonight it’s so fun and relaxing,” Jo Ann Calvert said from Walmart Distribution. “And this cause is close to me because my husband died of cancer five years ago, and hospice was with us the last six weeks before he died. I would never have made it without those people to help, they were so caring, and they are funded in part by United Way.”


While the totals are not in yet on how much money was raised, Danford is confident the event raised at least $10,000, and she is hopeful that the estimation is low. There have been a lot of people in the community who say that turning the organization around is close to impossible, but Danford is ready to work and prove them wrong.


“I’m a worker,” said Danford ardently. “I am never going to sit at my desk all day and wait for money to come in. I am here to get out there and work. Katelyn and I will be at Rehau at 5:30 a.m. in the morning to talk to a group, or at Ruscorr at 6 a.m. for a campaign. We are here to do whatever it takes, but you’ll never get there sitting at a desk.”


If you would like to donate to our local United Way and make a difference in numerous ways throughout the community, please call 256-739-2948.