United Way of Cullman will welcome six new members to its board of directors at its next meeting on Jan. 24.

Executive Director Kasey Kearce said five outgoing board members will be replaced and another seat added, bringing board membership to 24 people.

Incoming board members are Steve Cummings, Cummings Sporting Goods; James Eidson, Eidson Petroleum; Cindy Parrott, Woodland Medical Center; Donnie Riley, Riley Business Machines; Alan Wood, AmSouth Bank; and Ross Yearwood, Cash Acme.

They replace outgoing members Elton Bouldin, Laurie Ewing, Carolyn Mann, Clay Shearer and Lavell Thrasher.

The six new directors have all agreed to serve six-year terms, Kearce said.

Kearce, who became executive director of the charitable umbrella organization in July, said while she has yet to meet several of the new board members, she's confident they'll bring unique talents to United Way.

"The current board members nominated these individuals for different things they can contribute to the board," Kearce said. "We're very excited to be having them on board."

Cummings said he would like to bring ideas on attracting more United Way participation from small businesses, a sector United Way has tried to reach out to this year.

"There's a lot of little things we could do to involve small businesses and make their money count, too," he said.

The Jan. 24 meeting, to be held at First United Methodist Church, will include a presentation of the United Way's annual report on the success of its major fundraising campaign, which began Sept. 13, 2005.

Kearce said fundraising was hampered by hurricanes Katrina and Rita, as many companies suffered economically and giving was redirected to hurricane relief efforts. The United Way had hoped to raise $545,000. Last year's campaign raised about $527,400.

"I'd say we're at about 73 percent of our goal," she said Thursday, with about two weeks to go in the campaign.

Many companies have not turned in reports of employee pledge totals, she said, and others have pledged less than expected.

Individuals and businesses are welcome to make one-time donations or monthly pledges at the United Way office at 309 First Ave. N.E., Kearce said. For more information, call United Way at 739-2948.

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