Another groundhog now takes watch over the traffic on East Mahoning Street in Punxsutawney. He’s the newest member of the “Phantastic Phil” statues found across town. Located just out front of First Priority Bank.
“I think it’s going to hit home to a lot of people especially here in the community,” explains junior loan advisor, Kayla Smith.
Usually the statue’s theme represent the businesses behind it, but First Priority knew they wanted their design to mean much more.
“Three of us in the office have been diagnosed with cancer. It just hits especially close to home,” adds Smith.
He’s called “Hope-Phil” celebrating cancer survivors, and remembering those who lost their fight. The statue was painted by local artist Kelly Porada. “It was a healing thing for me. It’s touched everybody. Everybody has gone through something to do with cancer,” explains Porada, who just recently lost her father to the disease.
The statue is in remembrance of Barb Dominick, a bank employee who lost her battle with ovarian cancer in 2016. Her family in attendance for the dedication on Friday afternoon.
Barb’s daughter, Ashley Dominick, recalls her mother’s personality, “she loved everyone that she worked with, she loved seeing everyone in the community everyday, she really enjoyed her job.”
It’s a special place where her kids will be able to remember their mom’s life and legacy. Especially for Ashley, who now resides in Pittsburgh, to come home to. “Even up until the end when she was sick and she had every right to be as selfish as possible, she was still putting us first.”
The longer you look at the artwork- the more details you find. The groundhog serving as a reminder to anyone in town, to never lose hope.
Smith says, “helping those that maybe want to give up the fight to show them that anything’s possible.”