Volunteers Who Make An Impact: Bob Rudman

Hundreds of dedicated volunteers help the Heritage Foundation make the impact it does. This is part of a “Volunteers Who Make An Impact” series, to thank those individuals who dedicate their time to the organization’s mission.

books“Bob Rudman is one of my ‘go to’ people,” says Mary Pearce, executive director of the Heritage Foundation of Franklin and Williamson County. And that might mean anything.

Bob can be seen tending bar and pouring wine at Heritage Foundation events, delivering Heritage Foundation books to area merchants who retail the books, setting up book signings for local authors, and even dressing as the Easter Bunny and greeting children at the Franklin Theatre’s Easter movie event. It’s a good thing that he spent his career thinking outside the box and making unlikely connections, and it doesn’t hurt that he’s never met a stranger.

Bob’s involvement with the Heritage Foundation began shortly after he and his wife, Missy, moved from New England to Franklin in 2004.

Bob’s first volunteer stint was at a street festival and it wasn’t long until it evolved into a three-year, full-time commitment. While demolition was underway at the Franklin Theatre between 2008 and 2010, the insurance premium was considerably less if the building was occupied, so Bob and his friend Denny Kohan showed up every day to give the building “occupied” status. Not only did their presence save the Foundation thousands of dollars in insurance premiums, they were also available to open and lock up the building for various contractors and deliveries, saving the staff valuable time and resources.

As folks realized a Heritage Foundation volunteer was at the building every day, people began to drop by to reminisce and share stories, which gave Bob the idea of selling artifacts from the building as souvenirs. Together Bob and Denny sold the seats, light fixtures, tables, fire extinguishers, and anything else that would have been discarded, netting thousands of dollars for the Heritage Foundation and saving tons of trash from the landfill. Bob’s ingenuity not only had a significant financial impact on the theatre, it also contributed to the building’s “green” rating.

“I can count on Bob to do whatever we need him to do,” Mary says. “He is the consummate goodwill ambassador — one of those people whose creativity, energy and good humor change the temperature of the room when he walks in, and in the best way possible. His Northern social graces exude Southern hospitality, and we are privileged to count him a friend of the Heritage Foundation.”

To learn how to volunteer, go here.

Heritage Ball King & Queen

39th Annual Ball to be Held Saturday, Sept. 22 at Eastern Flank Battlefield Park

FRANKLIN, Tenn. – When patrons and friends of the Heritage Foundation of Franklin & Williamson County gathered at the Red House to celebrate the sponsors of the 39th Annual Heritage Ball, two long-time supporters had no idea that they were about to become part of a royal family.

Bob Rudman and Connie Haley were named King and Queen of the Ball, respectively, in a time-honored tradition that recognizes volunteers who work tirelessly to advance the Heritage Foundation’s mission.

“Bob and Connie have given so much of their time and talents that, as volunteers, they have become an essential part of our staff,” said Mary Pearce, the Foundation’s executive director. “The truth is we couldn’t have accomplished half of our objectives this year without their assistance, and we are proud to recognize their many contributions.”

Rudman is a retired Johnson and Johnson marketing executive who moved with his wife, Missy, to Franklin in 2004 to be near their children and grandchildren. Over the course of the last seven years, Bob has been integral in the campaign to save the Franklin Theatre, as well as in organizing book signings, neighborhood socials and tours to introduce the Heritage Foundation to local residents. Bob’s professional demeanor and memorable smile have made quite an impression in downtown Franklin.

Haley serves as vice president of membership and development on the Foundation’s board of directors, and has also been a key component in the success of numerous events and projects. She works diligently to recruit new members, secure sponsorships for events and help however needed to advance the mission. She and her husband, Carl, have hosted events in their home, and she represents the kind of “hands on” leadership and enthusiasm that any non-profit would love to have in a board member.

Connie was instrumental in organizing the groundbreaking event for the Franklin Theatre, and the Haleys were also major donors to the project. Their company, Grand Avenue, has supported a number of Heritage Foundation events, both through in-kind donations and sponsorships.

The 39th Annual Heritage Ball, presented by FirstBank, will be held Saturday, Sept. 22 at the Eastern Flank Battlefield Park in Franklin. To purchase tickets, contact Torrey Barnhill at tbarnhill@historicfranklin.com or at (615) 591-8500.

Patrons’ Sponsors include CapWealth Advisors, LLC, Lexus of Nashville, and James R. Parker/ Morgan Stanley Smith Barney.

All proceeds from the Ball benefit the work of the 45-year-old Heritage Foundation, a non-profit organization with a mission is to protect and preserve the architectural, geographic and cultural heritage of Franklin and Williamson County, and to promote the ongoing economic revitalization of downtown Franklin in the context of historic preservation. To learn more, visit www.historicfranklin.com.