Chip Abramovic grew up in the Utica area and attended Franklin schools. He left for college and work opportunities in downtown Pittsburgh, but even while he was away he visited often to see his family and to enjoy the outdoor recreation activities available here. Then in 2009, a job opened up in Franklin that allowed Chip to move back home. Chip said it was exciting to live in Pittsburgh and be part of a transitioning and growing city, but he had to travel out of the city to do the things he enjoyed.
“It was a perfect fit. I was also able to have the career I strived for and was still able to golf, kayak, fish, hunt, and enjoy all the activities I wanted to,” he said.
The quality of life and a strong sense of community were the two biggest factors for Chip’s move. “There is a strong sense of community here unlike elsewhere. People care, people ask how you are doing, you know who your neighbors are. There is a sense of togetherness and encouragement not often encountered in other places,” he said.
Another major benefit is Franklin’s location. Chip explained that, “You can be almost anywhere in Northwest Pennsylvania in an hour to an hour and a half. You can be in downtown Pittsburgh and downtown Erie in the same amount of time. You can live in an environment which you enjoy and also have the amenities of the city and still do it in a short amount of time. If you don't want to travel we even have great dining and great events so you don't have to even leave. The scenic beauty, from the rolling hills, the waterways, the trails, two-mile run park, the seasons we have. It truly is what people say ‘God's County’.”
Chip said when he moved away he realized that sometimes you have to take a step back and look from the outside at what you sometimes take for granted in order to really appreciate it. Now he said he sees clearly how many people work together here for the greater good of the community and put the wellbeing of others over themselves.
“When you do that you see the hard work others do so a child will get a smile on their face when they get an apple and a family has an opportunity to have a reunion at Applefest, or a child skips a stone with their dad for the first time, or a young professional overcomes stage fright to sing for the first time in front of a packed park for Taste of Talent. All of these opportunities bring people together to create a community, which takes many, many people to create. This is why I came home and am proud to say I am from here,” he said.
Growing up here, Chip had a good idea what to expect when he moved home. But there was one surprise for him. “I never expected to love and appreciate history the way I do,” he said. “Our community brought it out. From the rich history of the Courthouse, everything at the Venango Museum, Drake's Well, and everything in between. I never appreciated history as much as I do until I moved back home. To think back about who was here before us and how Venango County looked before is amazing. To think we had one of the most feared Indian tribes here to George Washington, and all of this before oil was ever capitalized on. Then we have all that history to follow. Sometimes I also wonder what history are we creating here today which will be talked about for centuries ahead. Time will only tell.”
“I am very proud to say where I am from and very proud of the people we have. I wish more people could experience what we have to offer so they too can see the pride everyone has in our area. It sinks in when you speak to people who visit the area and what they have to say about us. We truly are unique, and that is a good thing in this case.”