Carol Hartman’s husband Charles was in frail health but knew he could count on her to take care of him.
After he passed away seven years ago, she decided to reinvest her time and energy in being of service to other people.
“I try to stay busy,” she said. “It feels a lot better than sitting at home, feeling sorry for yourself.”
Mrs. Hartman, a member of Cathedral of St. Joseph parish and of the Knights of Columbus Bishop McAuliffe Council 12992 Ladies Auxiliary, was honored as the Knights of Columbus Missouri State Council Ladies Auxiliary’s Outstanding Lady of the Year for 2018-19.
She received the award April 27 at the Knights’ annual banquet during their state convention in Jefferson City.
She was shocked to learn that she had been chosen for this honor.
“It’s just so unbelievable!” she said.
Her fellow Knights auxiliary members weren’t so surprised.
“She is an awesome person,” said Arlene Taylor, chair of Council 12992’s auxiliary, which nominated Mrs. Hartman for the award. “She has done so much. We’re very proud of her.”
Mrs. Hartman told everyone at the banquet — including three of her four children and the wife of the one who could not attend — that she felt honored to be chosen from among so many deserving women.
She said she was accepting the award in memory of her husband.
“If he had not gotten involved in the Knights of Columbus, I would not have gone down this path,” she said. “I believe he’s what led me to this.”
In this together
Married in Mary’s Home in 1961, Mr. and Mrs. Hartman moved to Jefferson City in 1967 and became members of Cathedral of St. Joseph parish.
After completing her degree at Lincoln University, she worked for the state’s Insurance Division for 23 years, becoming the supervisor for the license department.
“I had to license all the people who sell insurance in Missouri — including Knights of Columbus,” she said.
Mr. Hartman joined the Knights of Columbus in 1977 and got involved in the Fourth Degree assembly.
Mrs. Hartman joined the Knights’ ladies’ auxiliary in 2014.
Made up of wives, mothers, daughters, granddaughters, sisters and widows of local Knights, the auxiliary helps support the work of the Knights and the Cathedral parish and school.
“Our goal is to serve God by being of service to other people,” said Mrs. Hartman.
Auxiliary members also turn to each other for prayers, support and advice.
“I like associating with other women who have the deep faith beliefs and values that I have,” she said. “I feel that just being around them makes me a better person.”
Mrs. Hartman attends the monthly dinner meetings of the Knights’ Dan C. Coppin Fourth Degree Assembly in Jefferson City, often stopping to pick up several friends who are fellow auxiliary members.
She made a point of being present to a fellow parishioner whose husband died after a long fight with cancer.
“She calls me her widow mentor,” said Mrs. Hartman. “I tried to be there with her because I knew what she was going through.”’
Mrs. Hartman’s work in the community keeps her busy.
“My kids say I’m never home!” she said with a laugh.
She volunteers on Wednesdays at the Samaritan Center’s food pantry, helping fill food orders for the center’s clients.
During the summer, she brings her teenage grandchildren along to help them learn the value of helping people in need.
She is an active member of the Cathedral parish’s vocation committee, attending monthly meetings hosted at the Cathedral and the biannual deanery meetings held throughout the diocese.
Her duties on the committee include sending anniversary and birthday cards to the priests, deacons and sisters who were educated in the Cathedral parish, have lived in the parish, or have served or currently are assigned to the cathedral.
She helps distribute vocation cards and materials at designated masses, puts the Prayer for Vocations on worship aids, and prepares “snacks for seminarians” to distribute at exam time.
She sings in the parish’s adult choir, attends daily Mass at the Cathedral and helps lead the praying of the Rosary before Mass.
She is one of eight women who as a group, clean the Cathedral rectory twice a month and launder all of the servers’ albs.
She helps prepare and serve the meal for funeral lunches hosted at the Cathedral and helps place inserts in the parish’s Sunday bulletins.
Carol helps with the annual Christmas Bazaar by making crafts to donate, cutting cakes, toasting bread for dressing, and working in the craft booth.
Her daughter takes mission trips to Guatemala, and Carol donates clothing items and handmade baby blankets for the babies and children who live in an orphanage there.
She helps with mailings at United Way, Catholic Charities of Central and Northern Missouri, and her parish.
As a member of the St. Mary’s Hospital Mended Hearts Group, she has crocheted or knitted more than 150 red baby hats to be given to all newborns at St. Mary’s Hospital during Heart Health Month in February.
She is a member of St. Mary’s Auxiliary, volunteering as a quilter to raise funds for the auxiliary by quilting for the public.
She also helps with the St. Mary’s Auxiliary’s annual Ice Cream Social.
Mrs. Hartman Knights’ ladies’ auxiliary is well worth belonging to.
“It’s a wonderful organization,” she said. “And like I always tell people, you get out of an organization what you put into it.”
“If you’re active, you certainly reap the rewards of being a member,” she said.