I was born in Colorado, but my parents had been from this area–my mother from Grove City, and my dad from Oil City. His father worked in the oil industry on the top floor of the Transit Building, and his mother was a stay-at-home mom who raised three children on the South Side.
My family moved back to Pennsylvania when I was about eight years old so my father could continue on with his educational goals and answer his call to ministry. They wanted my siblings and I to know our Venango County family, who we had known little about living across the country all our lives.
I lived in several places near Venango County over the years, and opened a restaurant in Meadville with my mother in the late 1980’s. In 1996, I closed the restaurant and moved to Franklin with my newborn son to begin a new life. I have been here ever since.
My husband grew up in Venango County as a first generation American and son of immigrants from Holland and Austria, who settled in the lovely hills of Polk. Shortly after I moved to Franklin, I met him when I got a job as a server, and later dining room manager, at The Franklin Club, where he was the newly hired chef. We married shortly afterwards, and worked together there for the next six years until our daughter was born.
We bought our home in Franklin in 1999 and have spent years restoring and remodeling it as we have raised our family. I took some time off to stay at home with our children after our daughter was born, and took in child care in our home to help with the family expenses. When I returned to work six years later, I took an aide position with the school district and was there for several years, then decided to return to my educational calling as a human services worker.
I worked for Even Start Family Literacy for three years until they lost funding and I was laid off, but was hired almost immediately at Community Services of Venango County’s Early Head Start program. I worked there for almost 12 years as a home visitor and then as the Program Supervisor and Education Coordinator.
I became aware of a human services position in my home church, Christ United Methodist Church, two years ago and interviewed for the position and have worked there since, assisting people in the community who have needs and connecting them to local resources.
My husband now works for the Department of Corrections in Mercer, but it has never been a consideration for us to move closer to his work, as we love this little town and the people.
I lived in a variety of areas in PA before I settled here in Franklin, and we have found that Venango County offers so much to those who live here, and the peace of mind we have living here is a huge bonus.
In the community, I have been a board member of the Franklin Public Library for five years, and continue as a board member of the Oil Region Library Association. I volunteer in many capacities in the community, serving at local food distributions, library book sales, and any opportunity that avails itself. I am also a member of the Franklin Rotary and, as we look towards empty-nesting very soon, we are planning to participate in more volunteer opportunities. I also have never given up the idea of opening a small business one day, but that will remain a bit of a secret until the time is right.
My family and I have enjoyed the bike trails for years, as well as Two Mile Run County Park. Our friends from Greene County come to Franklin often to spend time with us enjoying events like Applefest, May Mart, concerts in the park, and Taste of Franklin. They always comment how they wish their community had as much going on as ours, and they find it worth the drive to participate in the fun events we have here. We try to support every restaurant in the area as frequently as we can, and we shop local as much as possible.
Venango County has so much to offer in so many ways! To see our downtown Franklin exploding with lovely businesses, to see our local libraries meeting and exceeding standards is exciting, and there is so much more that can happen.
I found a home in Venango County after feeling very unsettled in many other areas for many years. The people, community, location, and beauty of this area is like none other. I will say, that I am still looking for the “mountains” I was promised as a little girl as we were leaving the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, but as I sit on my wrap-around front porch and look across the street, I see the beauty that my parents told me about, and I am more than content.