After the tornado in June 2011, PeoplesBank donated $200,000 to tornado relief for Western Massachusetts, and then added another $80,000 to plant trees. 
I was touched by their generosity and I am thrilled that their new President and CEO, Tom Senecal, will be the Chair of the 2016 City of Bright Nights Ball.
- Judy Matt 
Bright Nights Ball Announced
With a room full of sponsors and supporters, PeoplesBank President and CEO Tom Senecal announced their support for the City of Bright Nights Ball.  He will serve as the Chairman of the November 12 black-tie gala that will be held at the Sheraton Springfield.
"There is so much optimism about both the City of Springfield, and the Spirit of Springfield," said Senecal.  "The City itself is continuing its remarkable resurgence, and the Spirit of Springfield is right there, every step of the way, growing and celebrating our civic pride through events such as Bright Nights at Forest Park, Star Spangled Springfield and many others.  We're happy to lend our name and support to the group's effort."
The creative team of Rebecca Coderre, RC Communications and Andrew Jensen, JX2 Productions unveiled this year's theme - The Great Gatsby Gala.  It will be an elegant event with tables dressed with opulent centerpieces dripping with pearls and plumes of feathers.
Golden Circle Sponsors are $5,000 each and include Columbia Gas of Massachusetts, The Colvest Group, Health New England, MassMutual Financial Group, MGM Springfield, Moriarty & Primack PC, New England Business Machine, ProPark America, Sheraton Springfield, and Sisters of Providence Health System.
Tickets are $500 per couple.  Let us know if you would like to reserve tickets or a table.

Spinning for Ride to Remember
The plaza at 1350 Main Street was spinning on August 25 when 180 Fit Gym brought down their 15 stationary bicycles from the 9th floor in support of the Springfield Ride to Remember.  Many showed their support by donating $25 for a 15-minute spin.
"This was a great way for athletes and non-athletes to show their support for law enforcement, and it is a little easier than cycling from Springfield to Boston on September 17 as a participant in the Springfield Ride to Remember," said Jesse Baker, Owner/Personal Trainer, 180 Fit Gym.
The Spirit of Springfield will present Sergeant John Delaney with a check for $1,700 that will be used for new soccer fields dedicated to Springfield Police Department Fallen Officers Alain Beauregard and Michael Schiavina.
Special thanks to PeoplesBank, One Financial Plaza, 180 Fit Gym, Springfield Business Improvement District, Plazzo Cafe, Aaron's, DJ Greg Brown and Williams Distributing.
  See more photos on Flickr!
New Venue for September 11th Remembrance
This year marks the 15th anniversary of the September 11 attack on the  United States.  In its honor, the Spirit of Springfield with the Springfield Fire and Police Departments will hold the September 11th Remembrance Ceremony on Sunday, September 11 at the Springfield Museums.  This will allow guests to attend a special mass to be given by Bishop Mitchel Rozanski at St. Michael's Cathedral at 10AM, the Remembrance Ceremony and visit "Better Angels:  The Firefighters of 9/11" which is on display in the Springfield Museum.
Brigadier General Sean Collins, Assistant for Mobilization and Reserve Affairs, Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense, Health Affairs for the U. S. Air Force, will serve as the master of ceremonies.  There will be remembrances offered by Massachusetts State Fire Marshal Peter Ostroskey, Springfield Fire Commissioner Joseph Conant, Springfield Police Commissioner John Barbieri and David Pelletier from American Medical Response.  The ceremony includes rolling out of equipment, tolling of the bell, laying of a wreath, a rifle salute and taps.
The "Better Angels" exhibit features portraits of the 343 firefighters who lost their lives on September 11, 2001.  They were hand painted by Dawn Howkinson Siebel who currently lives in Easthampton.
Get Set and Ready to Register

The Bright Nights 5K Road Race has 500 spots to fill for the November 28 race by and through the magnificent lighting displays.  The registration will be available on-line Monday, September 12 at 12AM. 
The event, which has earned the reputation of being Springfield's favorite race, sells out every year.  Last year, it sold out shortly after the sun rose.  Half of the spots were taken within 10 minutes after registration opened.
Please join our Facebook event for registration.  If you are planning to stay up late or set your alarm, let us know on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.  Use #brightnightsroadrace. 
The Spirit of Springfield is a private, non-profit corporation  
which produces high-quality, large-scale events in the city of Springfield. 
Our mission is to promote community events and encourage civic pride.
Celebrating 26 Years of Springfield's 
Biggest, Best and Brightest 
In This Issue
Bright Nights Ball Announced
Spinning for Ride to Remember
New Venue for September 11th Remembrance
Get Set and Ready to Register
Guest Column - Commissioner Joseph Conant, Springfield Fire Dept.
Guest Column
Commissioner Joseph Conant
Springfield Fire Department 

I cannot believe it has been fifteen years since the horrible attacks of September 11, 2001, attacks which took the lives of thousands of civilians and hundreds of first responders. As I think back to the weeks and months following that tragedy, I am reminded of how much compassion the public displayed to first responders all over the country. This was the true spirit of the American people on display for the entire world to see.
Ninety-one firefighters and 130 police officers were killed in the line of duty last year and those numbers appear as if they will remain the same for this year. As we prepare for our remembrance ceremony this year which will be held at the Springfield Museums on 21 Edwards Street, we need to rekindle that compassion for first responders in these tumultuous times. I hope to see as many citizens as possible turn out for our emotional ceremony on September 11th. Thank you.     
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