Tabler, a 1990 graduate of Oil City High School, has gone a long way from his days running around Oil City and visiting with the Breene family. "He has always stayed very close with us," Breene said of Tabler, who spoke fondly of Breene's mother Marty.
Tabler was in Turkey recently and mentioned he always wanted to visit Baku, the birthplace of oil in Azerbaijan. The city on the Caspian Sea almost due north of Tehran, Iran discovered a means of extracting oil around the same time as America did. Their Edwin Drake was Ivan Mirzoev.
The early histories are very similar, though Baku is still producing large amounts of oil today.
When Tabler, who has done extensive work in the Middle East, returned to Washington, D.C. from his Baku trip, he talked with Khazar Ibrahim, the ambassador of the Republic of Azerbaijan to the United States, about his experiences. Ibrahim then wanted to visit Tabler's hometown to see the history of the oil industry in America. "We drilled first, but you set the price," Ibrahim joked as he met with several dignitaries, including the Venango County commissioners.
Ibrahim also met with Oil City Mayor Bill Moon, who presented him with the key to the city and several other Oil City mementos including a 150th-anniversary coin. Moon is hoping to establish sister city status with Baku. The tentative plan is to do proclamations when the ambassador returns for a proposed second visit this fall to see the fall foliage. "The ambassador will meet with his officials in Baku to confirm being sister cities with Oil City," Moon said. "Petty cool."