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.