Some people born and raised in Indiana may move away for various reasons.
Some of them choose to return.
Dan Robison is among that group.
The Seymour native lived in the city for the first 18 years of his life and then spent some time in the Evansville area and Kentucky before living and working in the Tampa Bay area of Florida for 18 years.
In 2020, he returned to Seymour to be director of the Greater Seymour Chamber of Commerce, which wound up changing its name to the Jackson County Chamber to include all of the county.
When Arann Banks, executive director of the Jackson County Visitor Center, learned of the new Home Again IN Indiana campaign, she knew Robison would be the perfect person to share his story.
Recently launched by Indiana Destination Development Corp. in partnership with the Indiana Association of Realtors, the campaign seeks to celebrate Hoosier pride by sharing the stories of those who were born and raised in Indiana and after moving away chose to return.
Robison is one of 12 people represented in the campaign so far. The others are from Evansville (twice), Fort Wayne, Mishawaka, Indianapolis, Greenfield, Terre Haute (twice), New Albany, Shipshewana and Richmond.
“(Banks) sent it to me and she thought, ‘This is something you should do. You have an interesting story about coming back to your hometown to serve as the chamber director,’” Robison said. “So I filled out a questionnaire and sent it in, and they let me know that they wanted to send a crew down to hear my story.”
The crew came to the visitor center in Seymour, and Robison’s video wound up being 2 minutes, 4 seconds long.
“They just talked to me about my story, about being born and raised here in Seymour, what that was like, what my experience was in Florida and then what brought me back to Indiana and what my experience has been being back home again in Indiana,” he said.
In the video, Robison says life was great growing up in Seymour, and he lived in a great neighborhood in which everyone knew everyone and looked out for one another.
Even when he moved away, Robison said he traveled north to Indiana for spring break and in the summertime because it was home.
“The beauty of living in a small town is just the ability to enjoy and appreciate the small things and the little things about life that sometimes we zoom past in our busy life,” he says in the video.
At the end of the video, an online link is shared for others to submit their stories. That link is visitindiana.com/move-in/homeagain.
“Indiana has a strong sense of community, and many Hoosiers have a deep connection to the state that brings them back home,” Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch said in a news release from IDDC. “We want to showcase those stories and inspire others to see all that Indiana has to offer.”
Elaine Bedel, secretary and CEO of IDDC, said they want to hear from Hoosiers who have experienced life in other states or countries and have returned to Indiana.
“We believe that Indiana is a wonderful place to call home, and we’re thrilled to showcase people who have returned to Indiana and the reasons why they love it here,” she said.
Robison said it meant a lot to him that Banks reached out about the campaign.
“I was one of those people growing up in Seymour that I never really intended to leave,” he said. “A lot of people are kind of like, ‘I can’t wait to get out of town’ or whatever and go here and go there. I was never one of those people. I always enjoyed being from here, but after college, life just took me away.”
He said he was super excited to be able to come back three years ago.
“Because this has always been home, so to be able to do that and then to share that story and encourage other Hoosiers to come back and live in Indiana again and be a part of their communities that they grew up in I thought was a great honor,” Robison said.
He feels it’s important for young people to realize they have an opportunity to stay in their hometown or they can get out and do whatever they want in the world and then come back and be part of the community that invested a lot in them.
“Seymour invested a lot in me as a young person through my neighborhood, my church, my teachers,” he said. “Those values that I learned here have served me very well in life, so it was great to be able to come back here and serve my community at the chamber and then to be able to share that story with others.”