RIDGWAY — After being away from Ridgway for 30 years, Roberta Buehler has come home, and is the new Ridgway-Elk County Chamber of Commerce executive director.
Interestingly enough, Buehler's first-ever volunteering position was with the Ridgway Chamber of Commerce, she said.
Buehler has dabbled in different careers, having sold real estate in DuBois and worked in advertising in the newspaper business for several years as well.
Buehler moved back to her hometown in the middle of 2020, ready to be closer to her family. She has 10 brothers and sisters.
“You come back and see it all through fresh eyes,” she said of the area.
Continuing her pattern of volunteering, Buehler was a chamber volunteer again when she first returned.
The Welcome Center in the heart of Ridgway is a common stop for many people, stopping in on their way through town or asking about popular tourist locations to visit in the Pennsylvania Wilds.
It's a huge resource, said Buehler, noting she has met people who are considering moving back to the area, too. U.S. Route 219 is the main road for travelers heading to New York, bringing many of them through the quaint town of Ridgway. Some are stopping in to see where they can find some elk, or asking for directions to destinations like the Kinzua Bridge State Park.
Her favorite part, says Buehler, is meeting people and answering questions. While the guests of Ridgway learn something, she always does, too.
“I learn something new every day I'm here,” she said. “It's amazing to me.”
Buehler described Ridgway as a very “community-minded” area where organizations work together, preparing for the chamber's membership drive, annual picnic on Aug. 4 and the Flavors of Fall Festival currently.
Buehler considers herself to be very people oriented, she said, and utilizing organization, marketing and public relations skills she has learned over the years in her position now.
The Ridgway community has been “very welcoming” of Buehler, she noted. Another joy of being back home has been running into people she hasn't seen in many years, like school teachers.
Having only been director for three months, Buehler says she is still getting acclimated to the position, and learning all she can.
Buehler has a refreshed appreciation for the area, she says, and all it has to offer – something she conveys to guests at the Welcome Center.