Debbie Melton and Richie Hughes will head this year’s fundraising campaign. Both served during the 2011 campaign as Division Chairs.
“One of the privileges of serving as board chairman is the opportunity to pick a team for the annual campaign,” Fisher said.
“Last year’s chairman, Terry Henry, selected Brenda Lawson and Tanya Mazzolini, and they did a wonderful job during the campaign. They had a friendly competition for the ‘Big Chief’ award, and I suspect Debbie and Richie will have an equally friendly, yet highly competitive, contest.”
Fisher noted there is a natural rivalry between Melton and Hughes already, as one attended Bradley Central High School and the other Cleveland High School. Yet, he said, the competition between the two and their soon-to-be announced teams is secondary to raising funds needed to provide services to those in need in the community.
“ I have known Debbie since my freshman year of high school, and Richie almost as long,” Fisher said. “Both of them are advocates for this community as demonstrated by their past service with United Way.
“They are also living examples of investing in this city, through active building projects going on at both of their businesses,” he added. “Each are also committed to their families, and to helping in this community.”
Melton is general manager/partner at Don Ledford Automotive Center. In 2009, when General Motors pulled its franchise from dealerships nationwide, Melton rallied the area together and regained her family’s dealership brands. Later, after the local Chevrolet dealership closed, she applied and was awarded Chevrolet.
She is now in the process of a construction project to enlarge the dealership, its showroom and customer service areas for Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac for this area.
Melton and her husband, Ken, have three children.
When the Holiday Inn franchise left Cleveland, the Hughes family pursued bringing it back bigger and better, and now, the Mountainview Inn is one of Cleveland’s premiere lodging facilities. Later this week, a brand new Holiday Inn Express, managed by Richie Hughes, will open on the hill at Exit 27 of Interstate 75.
Hughes is also an accomplished author and agent/manager for numerous authors and artists across the United States. He has served as a high school basketball coach and NBA scout for the Orlando Magic.
He and his wife, Stephanie, have two daughters.
Both Melton and Hughes are involved in many civic endeavors. Melton is on the board of directors for the Bradley-Cleveland Chamber of Commerce and Salvation Army. She was also the recipient of the 2011 Empowering Women’s award.
“I grew up in Cleveland and I love Cleveland and Bradley County, and hope that I can make a difference in the lives of our residents through my work in the community, and with United Way,” Melton said.
“I know that United Way makes a difference, and I am so honored to be able to work with this organization and great group of supporters to help those in need.”
Hughes founded his instructional camps program in 1990, and has produced camps for John Smoltz, Shaquille O’Neal, Dominique Wilkins and many more. He is past chief executive officer/executive pastor at Free Chapel in Gainesville, Ga.
“Scripture tells us to do whatever you do with all your might, and that is my hope for working with United Way this campaign … to do what I can to help others with all the passion I can,” Hughes said.
“Debbie and I will be competitive during the campaign, but we both are going to give it our best not to raise more donations than the other, but to raise as much as possible to help as many as possible in our community.”
“It is these kinds of individuals that I am so pleased to have going to bat for our agencies this fall,” Fisher said. “I am looking forward to working with Debbie and Richie during this campaign, and know that they will do a fantastic job.”
Both Melton and Hughes will select individuals to serve as Division Chairs for their respective teams. Announcement of those men and women will be made in the next few weeks.