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Featured Article


And A Secret Handshake

Article by Karen Creason

Photography by Beth Miller

Originally published in Franklin Lifestyle

It would be a challenge to find two people more opposite than Franklin residents Eric Wilson and Tripp Abney. Eric excels at swimming while Tripp reports he sinks in water. Eric enjoys being part of Waves Inc. podcasts where he talks with people and informs them about the available programs, whereas Tripp tried it once and decided podcasts were not for him. Eric loves horses and horseback riding, Tripp not so much. Dogs are not Eric's favorite animal yet Tripp loves dogs, especially his nine week old puppy, Jasper. Eric enjoys Trans Siberian Orchestra Christmas music. Tripp prefers "Santa Claus is Coming to Town." Eric is not a fisherman while Tripp is proud to have his official fishing license. Eric finds hockey games “too loud” while Tripp loves to see the Preds play at Bridgestone Arena. Eric likes to take photographs. Tripp likes to challenge himself with 10,000 piece jigsaw puzzles. While Eric was a little apprehensive about being interviewed, Tripp was excited, and encouraged Eric stating “You got this. Just watch me.” You see where this is going, right?

Despite their differences, these two men have formed a strong friendship and unbreakable bond. While opposites in so many ways,  there is a similarity in their innocence and genuine desire to do their best and to bring out the best in each other. They both enjoy their jobs at Publix, with Eric proudly stating he has worked there for 11 years. Tripp adds his favorite day to work is senior citizen
day because “They are my favorite customers.”

Eric is currently training to represent Williamson County in the Special Olympics State Games in powerlifting. He currently deadlifts 315 pounds! Later this month, he will travel to Orlando, Florida to represent Tennessee in the Special Olympics USA Games in swimming. Eric is a talented multi-sport athlete, including a black diamond alpine skier and snowboarder. Eric also participates in
AbleVoices, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that provides photography programs for individuals with disabilities as a means for self-expression, empowerment, and advocacy. Eric was proud to share his recent photos and is currently learning how to shoot angles.

Tripp is also a talented multi-sport athlete. Having competed in basketball and flag football, Tripp and his dad, Joey, were the 2013 Special Olympics North America Golf Champions. When asked how he became such a great golfer, Tripp replied “I have to practice a lot.” When asked if he ever hit a hole in one, Tripp humorously replied, “That is why you bring two pairs of pants - in case you
get a hole in one.” Tripp enjoys talking about Santa Claus and his buddy, Tyler Augusty, from the Best Buddies program.  Tripp and Tyler just celebrated their 10-year buddy anniversary. Says Tyler, “Tripp is the most affable guy. We have a great time together. My children love Tripp and call him Uncle Buddy.”

But Eric and Tripp are not so different that they cannot find a common ground. Each Friday, they dine out at their favorite Mexican restaurant. They both want to learn how to play pickleball, love Christmas, and dressing up as Santa for family and friends. They both enjoy attending Faith Friends at Brentwood Baptist Church each week. Wherever they are, it is not uncommon for them to be
stopped multiple times to be greeted by locals - and they love it! So if you see them around town, be sure to say hi. Just don’t expect to get a secret handshake. That is a secret shared just between these two best friends.