I love this photo of my friend James Homan portraying Jack Frost in the annual Lantern Light Parade in my hometown of Westfield, Massachusetts. This photo represents so many things for me. James and his partner Bob Plasse came to Westfield from New York City in 2003. They have both done so much to change the face of Westfield. In 2007 I went to an event in Old Saybrook, CT called The Torch Light Parade, came home and told Bob about it. We both agreed that it was something we needed and wanted to do in Westfield. Along with all of the other things that Bob was orchestrating through Westfield on Weekends, an organization created to enhance the quality of community life in Westfield, he spend time and energy on the concept of a holiday parade where the participants carry a lighted lantern. I remember the first parade, and several after that where there were a handful of us walking down Broad Street, a few of us with our hand made lanterns, to the Green and the annual lighting of the Christmas tree. I can remember in the first few years thinking “Does anyone know this is even happening?” I attended most in the past 8 years. This year as in the past several years, the parade began on the opposite end of Elm Street leading to the Green. We assembled in the parking lot of one of the local businesses. The center of town was closed to traffic for the parade. There were people in costumes, floats, decorated bikes and cars, life size puppets, and a huge sense of community. The local news was there, and interviewed James (Jack Frost) about the event. I took the above photo during the interview. For me, this represents a part of the turning point in the community recognition and involvement in events that have been the efforts of many volunteers since 2003. Six hundred plus people marched through the center of town to the Green, where the entire Green was filled with people waiting for the lighting of the Christmas tree! It gave me goosebumps, knowing how many years and efforts of many it took to get us to this point. I am very grateful to all that have brought our community to this point. I have lived in Westfield my entire life, and I can honestly say that this is the strongest sense of community I have ever felt here. I am personally grateful that my friends James Homan and Bob Plasse decided to move to Westfield 13 years ago and have each in their own special ways done so many magical things for the people of the City of Westfield. And thank you Jack Frost. You have permanently frozen this beautiful moment in my mind.