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A friend of the community - John Riley

He is the President of Cullman Savings Bank, but I consider him to be a true Cullman historian.

Article by Lauren Smith

Photography by Clara Vent and Missy Gurley

Originally published in Cullman City Lifestyle

Nothing is more admirable than the combination of generosity and humility, and John Riley displays such qualities. John is a man who loves Cullman and the people who make up this community. He is the President of Cullman Savings Bank, but I consider him to be a true Cullman historian. He moved to Cullman in 1990 from Tampa Florida to manage the Sherwin-Williams paint store in the south shopping center. While attending a training course for his new job, John met a beautiful young lady— she has been his wife for 30 years now. John and Rhonda started their new lives here in Cullman and have three wonderful children together.

I enjoy hearing John talk about Cullman and hearing the excitement in his voice when he speaks about how Cullman continues to grow. German roots deeply influence the city we know today, and John loves to showcase many historical items in the Cullman Savings Bank. In the lobby, you will find some of the first-ever bank transactions. In the conference room, all of the bank’s former presidents are featured on the walls. John has also portrayed the bank’s founder George Dinkleberg, in a historical reenactment.

John moves behind the scenes, working with a network of like-minded individuals to provide aid to those in need. Although he refuses to spread knowledge of his charitable work, others in the community love to sing his praises and brag about his role in the city. He has a step-by-step approach to improving the community, preferring to address problems that most overlook. For example, the Cullman Savings Bank Foundation provides financial assistance to students in our community who want to go to college, but lack the financial ability. This year, Cullman Savings Bank awarded scholarships to fifty students at Wallace State Community College, the largest number to date.

John Riley also plays a major role in non-profit organizations. One of the newest he has become associated with is Kenya Relief. It truly touches your heart to hear founder, Steve James, tell his story about why he went to Kenya and what he has been able to accomplish over the last 20 years. It is amazing the number of lives the organization has been able to save. Riley was impressed by James’ mission and instantly wanted to give everything he could to help. He is now a board member of Kenya Relief and has recently taken his family to visit the orphanage, school, and medical facilities that Steve has built with a lot of support from the people of Cullman. Steve James has made unbelievable progress building what is now an international medical team that provides a wide range of medical services to the Kenyan people. John stated, “Steve has made this all possible and they are now announcing the building of a new hospital.”

John doesn’t want any recognition or attention; when it comes to his generosity, he favors the unwitnessed, backstage role. However, I wanted him to know how much we appreciate him, and to show a little recognition for his endless hard work

  • Visiting Kenya
  • John and Rhonda
  • John was honored at Military Heroes Dinner
  • Cullman Savings Bank at Wallace State