It’s February — the month of love.

According to every ad we’ll see this month, it’s the time of red, pink and sweet nothings that mean everything. It’s the month where we celebrate the romance in our lives and hope our loved ones never, ever pick up on how many pairs of shoes or hair products or power tools we have.

And that can be great and healthy and fun. There is nothing wrong with taking a moment to appreciate the love you might be lucky enough to have in your own life.

But it’s also a good time to remember that love is everywhere. It’s not just romance and hand-holding. It’s in every gesture we make that helps our neighbors and our community become stronger.

Fortunately for us, we live in a place where people are open about the love they have for their hometown and home state. It’s the best kind of love, because it’s more than talk. The people who live in Casper and Wyoming show what is important to them by taking action. Our city and state are bursting with examples of love.

Need to see one for yourself? This Valentine’s Day, consider taking a twirl with someone you love — even if it’s just yourself — at the new David Street Station ice rink. The plaza itself is an incredible show of affection to our entire community, thanks to the donors who made it possible. Feel that love as you carve circles into the ice on a chilly evening in downtown Casper. Then settle in for a warm meal at one of the nearby restaurants whose owners have committed to making Casper their home and business location. So many of them have invested in their relationship with this city in a brave and daring way. And that love is continuing to grow, expanding its warm glow into many downtown businesses as people become more interested in the area. And don’t forget the performers and other groups who give their talents and time to entertain David Street Station visitors.

Look at the local nonprofits that have made their homes in our city. The Children’s Advocacy Project, Habitat for Humanity, Seton House, Jason’s Friends, the Casper Humane Society, local food and sustainability efforts and others — all of these are designed to show love and support when it is needed most. Each is a love letter to those who need it. I myself am fortunate to work at another nonprofit located downtown. In our efforts to grant wishes for Wyoming children with critical illnesses, we have the honor of working with many people who care deeply for these kids and their families and take it upon themselves to show them just how much by contributing their time or other resources.

If you believe in one of the projects I’ve mentioned, see how you can contribute your time or your funds to make it better. If there’s another one that’s close to your heart, you can explore that, too. Even if you aren’t in a position to commit to helping, promise yourself you’ll sing the praises of the organizations and efforts you believe in to others.

We all have the ability to show our affection for our neighbors and our communities, all year. And what’s not to love about that?

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Mandy Burton, a former Star-Tribune opinion editor, currently works for Make-A-Wish Wyoming in Casper. Her column about life in Casper and Wyoming has appeared on this page since 2016.


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