The Lake Tansi Exchange Club held their Book of Golden Deeds Banquet on Oct. 9 at R Place Pub and Grill to award Exchange Club Tennessee District President Judi Hartman. Book of Golden Deeds is the Exchange Club’s highest award and is given to members whose tireless and selfless work to advocate for children, forward the Exchange Club’s mission and positively impact the community has not gone unnoticed. 

Following the welcome from Lake Tansi Exchange Club President Dr. John Lyon, invocation and recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance, dinner was served. Afterward, special speakers gave anecdotal speeches to describe Hartman. Hartman’s daughter, Renee Porco, spoke on “My Christian Mom,” Cumberland County Playhouse Producing Director/CEO Bryce McDonald spoke on Hartman as “The Volunteer,” R Place Pub and Grill owner Sheri Adison presented a speech on Hartman as “The Worker,” fellow Exchange Club member Betty Quast spoke about Hartman as “The Friend” and Past Exchange Club Tennessee District President Nancy Britt was the keynote speaker who presented about Hartman as “The Exchangite.”

Porco painted her mother as a person of faith and servitude with the roles of mother, wife, co-worker, teacher and friend to anyone who needed her. Then she took on the roles of grandmother and great-grandmother.

“She has been there for everyone. Then I guess she got bored and decided she didn’t have enough to do,” said Porco, getting a laugh. Porco added that her mother began joining clubs, golfing groups, taking volunteer opportunities at the Playhouse and church, and still she wasn’t busy enough. So, Hartman began sitting on committees and running for club offices.   

Porco added, “She didn’t want to settle and sit in the background. She wanted to be the voice for someone who could not be heard.”

Porco then read aloud the Bible verses that she thought described her mother’s giving heart and Christian values. 

McDonald spoke next and stated two words that described Hartman, who has been a Playhouse volunteer since 2012, were volunteer and hospitality. 

“Everyone should take up the responsibility to provide a warm, caring, positive time for our audience. We have to start every day, every shift, every board meeting, every show and every class with this mindset,” said McDonald. “I like to call this mindset the ‘What Would Judi Do?’” 

Adison spoke on Hartman’s work ethic and said, “Judi is probably one of my life savers. I love her a lot. She’s a special woman. She’s been a special friend. She’s a special person. So, she deserves this a lot.”

Quast regaled the group of attendees with stories of her and Hartman’s many travel escapades, becoming known as “Thelma and Louise” because they are so often traveling together. 

“This is a wonderful night to honor a wonderful person,” said Quast. “Being a friend means treating another with special care, kindness and, most of all, respect. Because this exemplifies Judi, I’ve seen many Exchangites on the district, state and even national level become her friend, as well as her associate. It’s always fun to be with Judi and I always wonder what we can get into next. Sometimes we get asked if we are sisters when we are playfully bickering at each other, to which I quickly reply, ‘Yes, and she’s the oldest.’”

Britt gave a brief history of Exchange Club’s founding and their ideas and principles which now benefit communities all over the nation with service programs of Americanism, community service and youth programs. The national project at the heart of every Exchangite is child abuse prevention. 

“Exchange Club programs of service happen because of dedicated volunteers like Judi Hartman,” Britt stated.

The Book of Golden Deeds is awarded in recognition of “dedicated volunteers who give endless hours of their time and talent toward making their community, and especially in this case Lake Tansi, a better place to live. But, ‘#joinwithjudi’ we’ve all seen on Facebook. It has become a Tennessee district motto thanks to Judi. And we are all behind our fearless leader and are so proud of her and everything she has done and prepared for what is going to be probably the best year we have had.”

Lyon then presented Hartman with the Exchange Club Book of Golden Deeds plaque as Hartman officially joined the ranks of fellow Exchangites who’d received the prestigious award before her. 

“I want to praise God from whom all blessings flow,” said Hartman. “It’s by His doing that I have the energy, my enthusiasm, my passion and my desire to serve others. He has blessed me with so many talents and not to use them would be wasteful.”

Hartman stated when thanksgiving was the focus, positivity, graciousness, love and humility take place. 

“I don’t like to focus on the negative,” said Hartman, and semi-jokingly added, “Crap happens. Get over it. Move on,” to which her fellow Exchangites clapped and exclaimed, “Ain’t that the truth!”

Hartman read Ecclesiastes chapter one saying there was a time and season to everything under heaven. 

“Exchange Club is my season now,” said Hartman, beaming and so very thankful for the season she was in at this very moment.