For the love of Westfield: City’s Lantern Awards Citizen of the Year celebrated for service, volunteerism

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When the Westfield community gathers annually for the Chamber of Commerce Lantern Awards, it isn’t just for dinner and networking. The annual event is an opportunity to showcase individuals and businesses that bring out the best in town.

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Westfield Chamber of Commerce President Courtney Albright and Westfield Mayor Scott Willis present during this year’s Lantern Awards. (Photo courtesy of Whitney Moore Photography)

This year, there were 17 recognitions for exemplary service to the city and its citizens during the Jan. 25 celebration at Prairie Waters Event Center in Westfield.

This year’s Citizen of the Year is Melody Jones, a Realtor/Broker with F.C. Tucker Co., Inc. Although she spends her time working in the housing market these days, Jones also refers to her career as her “retirement job.”

“It’s quite an honor,” Jones said. “You are nominated just by other citizens for this. The board of the chamber makes the final decision, but it is the community embracing whoever it is that they’re nominating. So, it’s quite humbling to be considered as someone who people want to recognize. And I think it goes to show how much our community cares about the community and the fact that they do want to highlight and lift up people who are doing great things.”

A Westfield resident since 1984, Jones was the parks director for the City of Westfield for 10 years, and previously worked for the Indiana Department of Natural Resources and as the township parks director.

“I’m pretty much the person that (was) responsible for parks and trails throughout Washington Township, and many trails throughout the state, which was a pretty cool job,” Jones said. “I have been so involved with green initiatives, and the last several years I’ve been in (Westfield) Rotary (Club).”

Not satisfied to simply work in the public sector, Jones also dove into community service and volunteerism. With the Rotary, Jones serves on the fundraising committee but has also served as president and vice president.

“Westfield is a very unique community, because we just have a real sense of gratitude, and people just tend to be involved,” Jones said. “Even though we’re becoming quite a large city, we still have a very small-town attitude. People care about each other and pick up the slack.”

Jones noted how citizens are often the driving force behind community initiatives and providing services to the citizens of town.

“As a Realtor I always say, we in Westfield and in all of Hamilton County live in a bubble,” Jones said. “We are very fortunate to have an affluent community, but it’s above and beyond that with the amenities that we have and the level of service and giving back that the community exudes. It’s quite remarkable, I don’t think you see that in a lot of places.”

This year was the first time Jones was nominated, but through her work and volunteerism over the years, she’s attended the Lantern Awards often, and was humbled by the designation.

Jones has three grown children, Megan, Isaiah and Ethan, all graduates of Westfield High School. Jones, her children, and her four grandchildren, Zachary, Jacqueline, Jaden and Noah all spend time together regularly in the city.

“We do things in Westfield all the time,” Jones said. “We spend a lot of time at Grand Junction Plaza, we enjoy Grand Park and all the parks, we were sledding just [recently]over at Simon Moon Park. It’s nice to have my kids still want to be a part of Westfield.”

The Lantern Awards began in 1982 to celebrate the community of Westfield. The lantern represents Westfield’s history and ties to the Underground Railroad. The awards symbolize a beacon of leadership, hope, and possibility that exists in Westfield, according to the Westfield Chamber.

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The Farmers Bank, title sponsor of this year’s Westfield Chamber of Commerce Lantern Awards, won this year’s award for New Partner of the Year – Large Business. CEO Christopher Cook accepted the award flanked by his team members. (Photo courtesy of Whitney Moore Photography)

Westfield Lantern Award Winners 2024

  • Distinguished Service Award – Andy Cook
  • Community Event of the Year – Hamilton County Bicentennial
  • Healthcare Award of Distinction – Ascension St. Vincent
  • New Parter of the Year, Small Business – DonutNV
  • New Partner of the Year, Mid-Size Business – Adam Grubb Media
  • New Parter of the Year, Large Business – The Farmers Bank
  • Citizen of the Year – Melody Jones
  • Community Volunteer Award of Distinction – Jake Gilbert
  • Non-Profit of the Year – Student Impact
  • Young Professional Hall of Fame Inductee – Abigail Cassady
  • Individual Award of Excellence – Janelle Campbell
  • Young Professional of the Year – Rachel Nelson
  • Business of the Year, Small Business – Dean Ballenger Agency
  • Business of the Year, Mid-Size Business – Rivet Coffee Bar & Roastery
  • Business of the Year, Large Business – Abbott
  • Westfield Washington Award of Distinction – Joseph Montalone
  • First Responders Award of Distinction – Nick Rambo

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