Cullman Savings Bank donates $5K to Pilot Light Home

Left to right are Peggy Harris, John Riley, Grace Potter, Nancy Moore, Angie Glasscock, Matt Townson and Angie Lanier. (Amy Leonard for The Cullman Tribune)

CULLMAN, Ala.- Cullman Savings Bank generously donated $5,000 to The Pilot Light Home on Friday, Feb. 24. The Pilot Light Home, located on Cullman’s east side, is a nonprofit foster home that has cared for Cullman’s children for over 40 years. 

The home is “funded by the State Department of Human Resources child welfare payments, United Way of Cullman County, the Pilot Club of Cullman, with a third of the budget (about $30,000) provided through donations from civic organizations, churches, businesses and individuals, as well as fundraising projects. These funds are used to maintain the home inside and out, provide monthly cost of operation–house parent salary, utilities, food, household supplies, clothing, medicine, insurance, gas–as well as the upkeep for the home and van.”  

The history of the Pilot Light Homes reads: 

The Pilot Light Home is a 24/7 foster home and emergency care facility licensed by the Department of Human Resources and governed by an all-volunteer Board of Directors. The home provides care for six foster children and one salaried house parent. These children are abused and/or neglected, abandoned or whose parents are incapacitated with no relatives to provide care. Care is provided for an average of 20-25 children yearly.   

Prior to 1982, when law enforcement and DHR case workers would pick up abused, neglected children, sometimes in the middle of the night, many times there was no readily available family, and no emergency place for children to stay. There was no foster home in the City of Cullman. The only homes that had vacancies and willing to take emergency placement children were many times located in Bremen, Brushy Pond, so the DHR workers would have to drive there with the children in the middle of the night.   

The DHR staff needed and wanted a home/shelter in the city where children would be taken in these emergency situations or when other homes were full. Decatur had a home, Operations Home, supported by the community and approved like a foster family home with house parents. Visits were made to the home to gather information used to establish such a home in Cullman.   

Chartered in 1981, the newly formed Pilot Club became interested in helping establish a children’s home/shelter and spearheaded the drive, becoming the primary sponsor of the Pilot Light Home. Under the leadership of Lorene Scott, the Pilot Club was joined by several Civic Clubs, churches, industries, businesses and concerned citizens and a Cullman home/shelter became a reality. This home would be supported by DHR welfare payments, Pilot Club and Cullman community donations from Civic Clubs, churches, businesses, banks, individuals and later, The United Way. 

The donation by Cullman Savings Bank will make a tangible difference for the foster children of Cullman County and the Pilot Club and Pilot Light Home board of directors send their gratitude to John Riley and his staff at Cullman Savings Bank.