So, you stumbled upon our blog. Or maybe you are a super fan. Perhaps you are just curious about what we have to say. No matter the reason that brought you to our humble blog, we are excited to have you and hopefully we don’t scare you away! Anyway, you might be wondering who this vague and ominous “We” is I keep referencing? Are we famous? Nope. Do we love cats? Meow that’s a conversation for another day. The suspense is killing you, I am sure. So let’s get to it.
1/2 Of the dynamic duo: Loralei Hink
A Little “Her”story
Let’s start with a little family history lesson. My family has lived in Ellwood Cityfor over 100 years. I think that’s why I say that I was born and raised in Ellwood, even though we lived in North Sewickley. I spent my summers waiting for the Fourth of July Festival (gyros just taste better when eaten in Ewing Park). I ate way too much fried dough at the BVM Bazaar (Yes, i know it’s not called that anymore but old habits are hard to break). I swam in the Ewing Park Pool (but never during our family reunion because that was just a weird unwritten rule at the Rocco Reunion) and I counted down the days until Christmas in the Park opened.
I may have graduated from Riverside but a huge part of my heart has always belonged to Ellwood. I married a Lincoln graduate, Nick Hink, although we didn’t meet one another until our Junior year of College at California University. Isn’t it funny how the world works? We probably passed by each other dozens of times growing up but it took leaving Ellwood to finally connect.
New Job, who this?
So enough about my past lets talk about the present! I really can’t put in to words how ecstatic I am about being the Executive Director of Membership for the Ellwood City Area Chamber of Commerce. I mean, just a few short months ago I was doing the stay at home mom thing (which was totally awesome and I loved every minute of it). I stepped away from my job at The Jacqueline House of Wilmington in July of 2018, where I had been the event planner for almost 4 years. I had no plans to go back to work and really wasn’t looking for a job. My sister just happened to see the job posting and sent it to me. I thought “HOLY COW THIS JOB IS MADE FOR ME!” I applied and two months later scored an interview and within a week, I was offered the job.
I have been working at the chamber for almost two months and I absolutely love it. Working along side Jillian (keep reading and you’ll get to know a bit more about her but she is basically the best ever) has been a dream. We compliment one another and thrive off of each others energy. We have accomplished so much in two short months so I can’t wait to see how the rest of 2019 goes! Trust me, you are going to want to stay tuned because it is going to be EPIC!
Tall 1/2 of the Dynamic Duo: Jillian Court
Jillian here and yes we dubbed myself as the tall half of the dynamic duo because of this article by the Ellwood Ledger. It must of been how we were standing because as you can see in the photo below, there isn’t a huge height difference!
Some Background About Me
I was born and raised in Ellwood City, specifically Perry Township. I only lived 2 blocks up from Perry Elementary and probably walked to school a handful of times – my parents can attest that I like sleeping in. Who doesn’t?! I graduated from Lincoln High School in ’09 and Allegheny College in ’13 with an Environmental Science degree. Yes, I was a “treehugger.” I met my husband, Josh, in high school. My maiden name was D’Amico and his was Court so we were in the same homeroom beginning in 7th grade and had many classes together. Apparently I gave him a cupcake I made in cooking class in 10th grade and that’s probably the last time I ever made cupcakes! Josh is an awesome cook – I definitely got lucky! And he’s lucky that I introduced him to Backstreet Boys and ‘Nsync music. He thanks me everyday – not really…
Bye, Bye, Bye Ellwood
Josh and I couldn’t wait to move out of Ellwood and move on to bigger and better things. We wanted the big city feel or at the very least, be surrounded by hustle and bustle. This dream started to become a reality when we got our first “big jobs” – I was working at Brandenburg, a demolition company that was contracted at the Shell Cracker Plant site and Josh was working at the Eric Ryan Corporation. We moved to Chippewa and were finally out of Ellwood. Then, an opportunity came along for us to move to Charlotte, NC and of course we took it! It was our big city feel that we wanted to experience. We lived a half mile away from the Charlotte Motor Speedway (my dad actually got to drive a NASCAR – very awesome), ate the best fish tacos from Cabo Fish Taco, enjoyed brisket grilled cheese from Midwood Smokehouse (Smokin’ Dave’s BBQ offers this and it’s so good!), lived it up at the Epicentre, and found fellow Pittsburgh fans at Fitzgerald’s during the Penguins’ 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs. But one thing was missing – our family and friends. We had so much fun and loved the weather but knew it was time to come home to Western PA (even though wintry days like today make me want to pack and go south).
Jillian’s Back, Alright!
Many resumes were sent out between moving car loads of our belongings home and wedding planning but to no avail – nothing. Lisa Fox with Kimpel’s Jewelers texted my mom saying that Ellwood City Community Enrichment was looking for a new Volunteer Director, which organizes Lawrence County Earth Day, the Summer Concert Series, and the Storytelling Festival. I thought to myself, “YES! I can use my ES degree again!” The “treehugger” in me was coming out.
I attended the Ellwood Chamber’s Annual Dinner and President Dr. Nick Neupauer with Butler County Community College presented “Dare to Dream: Ellwood City in the 21st Century” and his speech got me so motivated to help Ellwood City thrive to attract more young people because we are the future. A short time later, I accepted a position at the Chamber as the Executive Assistant and realized Ellwood City had so much to offer! I remember thinking that this can’t be the same town I left a few years ago. There were so many events and new shops opening up. Josh and I began exploring the Ellwood Area just like we explored Charlotte and found new amenities that we didn’t know about or took for granted. We bought a house in Wayne Township and live there with our cat, Charlotte (yes, she was our souvenir from Charlotte – shout out to Princeton’s Meow!)
We ❤ The Ellwood City Area!
I am so excited to be the Executive Director of Media for the Chamber! Having 2 Co-Directors is uncharted territory for the Chamber but working with Loralei these past 2 months have been so much fun! Our area has a TON to offer such as delicious Italian food, small shops, outdoor recreation, events, and great people. We have to be thankful for what we have because some other towns are not as fortunate as us!
We are here to help the community and our members in any way we can! Contact us if you need anything! Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com or call 724-758-5501. We also love to chat with folks who stop in our office 806 Lawrence Ave, Ellwood City.