• By Chamber President Patrick Bryant & Members of the Board of Directors

    In acknowledging that Tommy Hartzog leaves big shoes to fill as director of  the Chamber,  we take the time for public and heartfelt gratitude to our friend, colleague and community cheerleader.

    Tommy announced earlier this month that he would be stepping aside from his position as director to pursue other opportunities.

    Anyone of us would be hard-pressed to find someone who doesn’t have ‘a Tommy story’ involving a new idea he developed, a problem he solved, or a person he helped.

    When the HNG Chamber re-organized several years ago, it took no time at all  for the newly formed board of directors to collectively agree that the person to lead it to its next chapter was Tommy.

    With great enthusiasm and energy for the task ahead, he helped foster a renewed sense of interest and dedication to the Chamber by businesses and residents who stepped up to join our mission.

    When we reflect on how few resources we had, no office, no budget and no plan, Tommy, the staff, and the board achieved great things together for the Chamber as they got it back on its feet to the place where it is today.

    In some capacity or another, Tommy either led or was an indispensable participant in the Chamber’s achievements over the last several years:

    • The location of a local banking partner in Lake Lure, Carolina Trust Bank
    • The creation and execution of several profitable annual and seasonal events
    • Collaborative partnerships with key stakeholders, including the Town of Lake Lure, the Lake Lure Inn, and Rumbling Bald Resort
    • Identification of a permanent office with administrative staff and regular hours
    • The procurement of a new website, database, and online calendar
    • Acquisition of the Dirty Dancing Festival as a locally owned and managed event

    "Tommy is simply one of the best conveners I know,” said Board member, Mary Jaeger-Gale. “He can not only bring a large crowd together, but he gets folks enthused about a subject, so they become involved.  It takes a special person to do that."  

    Board member Bill Ashman agreed. Tommy has a unique way with words and is very good at talking to groups.”

    Former Chamber president and current Lake Lure Mayor had this to say about Tommy: “Tommy recruited many high-quality, high-energy folks from the Gorge to serve as volunteer leaders on the Chamber Board. I’m proud to be one of this group. He’s a ‘How can we?’ vs. a ‘Why can’t we?’ Like most everyone else that has gotten to know him well, I truly enjoy being around Tommy. His enthusiasm is contagious.”

    “From a community perspective Tommy has always had a positive attitude and has had kind, uplifting words to say about others, “said Board member Diane Barrett

    And board member Valerie Hoffman had these observations about Tommy: “Having known and worked alongside Tommy since my earliest days of moving to Lake Lure, he has been one of the starter flames behind every big idea that has germinated here. I have witnessed in him a caring, compassionate man who is deeply patriotic, loves the Gorge, and is loyal to his friends.  

    Help us pay tribute to Tommy this Tuesday evening at 5:30 pm during the monthly re-Charge at Carolina Trust Bank on Memorial Highway in Lake Lure.