Presented as part of Exemplary Community Volunteer Awards

As part of the eighth annual Franklin Tomorrow Exemplary Community Volunteer Awards and Volunteer Spirit Awards, set for July 30, two Ned Lea Lifetime Achievement Awards will be presented posthumously to the late Pat Hesson and the late Gracie Atkinson.

The awards will be presented at the Franklin Theatre as part of the eighth annual Exemplary Community Volunteer Awards and Volunteer Spirit Awards, with Pinnacle Financial Partners generously serving as the presenting sponsor for the event. The event will begin at 5:30 p.m. with a cocktail hour provided by Lipman Brothers and food from Puckett’s Gro. & Restaurant.

The awards presentation will begin at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are available through the Franklin Theatre

The Ned Lea Lifetime Achievement Award is presented posthumously to recognize individuals who have had a significant impact for one organization or on their community through their life. They exemplify a heart of service and a dedication to the community at large.

Pat Hesson

Hesson, a longtime member of the banking community in Williamson County who was involved in a number of organizations and activities, died at the age of 88 in December 2013. She is remembered as one of the original banking pioneers in customer service, starting with Williamson County Bank. She was Sponsorship Chair for Relay for Life for many years, member of Beta Sigma Phi Sorority and Ambassador for Williamson County Franklin Chamber of Commerce.


Atkinson, who died unexpectedly at the age of 13 in January of this year, will also be honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award to recognize her commitment to myLIFEspeaks, an organization started by former Franklin residents Mike and Missy Wilson to operate a family-style orphanage near Port-Au-Prince, Haiti. The Wilsons recently moved to Haiti to work full-time at the orphanage.

Through young Gracie’s commitment after visiting the orphanage in Haiti, donations and pledges made after her death will fund construction of another house, Gracie’s House, being built to serve the children of Haiti.

The top award of the evening is the Anne T. Rutherford Exemplary Community Volunteer Award, chosen from nominations submitted by more than 30 local nonprofit organizations or charities.

New awards being added this year will recognize Civic Groups, Corporate Volunteer Teams, as well as Individual Corporate volunteers. Also being presented will be the Volunteer Spirit, Youth Initiative, and Lifetime Achievement Awards.

Another new feature will be the presentation of the Legacy Award, a continuation of the Business Legends Award previously presented by the Williamson County-Franklin Chamber of Commerce. This award will recognize an individual or individuals who have made significant impact in the areas of business, quality of life, and leadership.

Serving as chairmen for the event are local Realtors, J. Edward & Brenda Tuck Campbell of Synergy Realty Network, LLC.

Additional sponsors include Buerger, Moseley & Carson, Rep. Charles Sargent, Pam Lewis & PLA Media, Barge Waggoner Sumner & Cannon, and Waddey & Patterson PC. Serving as supporters are Kathie Moore, The Better Business Bureau of Middle Tennessee and The Integrity Foundation, State Sen. Jack Johnson, State Rep. Jeremy Durham, County Mayor Rogers Anderson, Laura Perry of Homeland Title Co., Cherie & Dan Hammond, Lipman Brothers, and Puckett’s Gro. & Restaurant.

Franklin Tomorrow is the community visioning nonprofit which seeks to engage the community, foster collaboration, and advocate for a shared vision for the future of Franklin. That shared vision includes a vibrant economy, distinct character, robust neighborhoods, and great people.