Caring for Cullman concert raises funds for Good Samaritan

W.C. Mann for The Cullman Tribune

Triumphant Quartet was entertaining, as always, at Thursday night’s Caring for Cullman concert. (W.C. Mann for The Cullman Tribune)

CULLMAN – A crowd gathered Thursday evening at the Cullman High School to hear good music and support a great cause, as Good Samaritan Health Clinic (GSHC) put on its fourth annual Caring for Cullman fundraising concert with Triumphant Quartet and the Wallace State Jazz Band.

Early in the evening, GSHC Director Jolanda Hutson told The Tribune, “We’re super excited to have our fourth annual event tonight.  We’re hoping it’s going to be the best yet! We’re very grateful for all the community support that we’ve had leading up to the event.

“Tonight we’ve got law enforcement officers for security, just here to have fun with the people and enjoy the evening with us.  We’ve had great support from all the sponsors. Cullman Savings Bank has been phenomenal; (I am) very grateful for them being our platinum sponsor for the evening, and they’ve done a great job helping us promote our event, as well.  So we’re just looking forward to a great evening of entertainment!”

Triumphant Quartet has been the headliner since the first concert and came in this year riding a wave of success, having recently won five fan awards from Singing News: Favorite Bass Singer: Eric Bennett, Favorite Album: “Thankful,” Favorite Song: “Chain Breaker,” Favorite Traditional Quartet and Favorite Artist.  Wallace State’s Jazz Band joined the lineup this year, opening the show with a collection of jazz and big band classics under the direction of Ricky Burks.

Caring for Cullman also welcomed Dixie Gospel Caravan DJ/host Mickey Bell as master of ceremonies.  

Bell told The Tribune, “I love it! The fact that when I found out what is was for, that’s when I wanted to be here.  So I reached out and said, ‘Let me help; let me do what I can do.’ I can’t do much, but just getting to come out and help a cause like this is just wonderful.  I’ll be able to sleep good tonight!”

The amount raised was not immediately available, but the event typically raises around $28,000, and Thursday’s crowd promised a favorable outcome this time around.  With an average patient costing the clinic $500 per year to serve, the concert could provide medical care to more than 55 patients this coming year.

GSHC Medical Director Dr. Jeremy Stidham explained, “It takes care of the staffing needs of the clinic, the medications that we prescribe for folks, the shots that we give, just the basic needs of the facility itself.  The clinic really survives on donations and this sort of fundraiser. This is our big one of the year. This is the one that keeps us moving every year.

“And, outside of this, we have donations from the community, and the organizations of the community (are) kind enough to give us donations.  But this is our main fundraiser of the year right here. And it’s been well-attended for several years now, and this year in particular, and we appreciate the community being here.”

Cullman Savings Bank was the main event sponsor.  Bank President John Riley III and members of his staff came out to add feet and hands to their financial support and welcome visitors to the concert.

Riley told The Tribune, “Cullman Savings Bank has been a sponsor of Good Samaritan Health Clinic probably 10 years at least, and we’ve had several individuals with the bank serve on the (GSHC) board of directors, including myself, so we got to see first-hand the difference it makes in the community.  And this benefit that Jolanda and the group started several years ago has really grown into something that’s a good fundraiser, something great for the community; it’s just another additional something good that’s going on, so we’re glad to be a part of it.”

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