To the Editor:

An icon is defined in many ways, one of which is “someone who represents something of importance; is revered; a symbol.”

Norm Cummings is an icon. I am quite certain in New Milford and the Litchfield County area, nobody would argue that.

Many of us have had the same ritual every Friday for decades. We picked up the New Milford Times, and then The Spectrum, from the end of our driveway and then sat in our car and skimmed the paper checking out what Norm Cummings had to say, and to look at the incredible pictures that he took that week.

And, if good fortune were to come your way, someone you knew, or even a family member might have a picture in that particular edition. If you didn’t take a picture of one of your kids that week, there was a good chance that Norm did.

If it was a soccer field, a baseball field, a parade, a road race or making a mess of an ice cream cone, Norm was there. In his signature look — sandals, cargo shorts, a golf shirt, a vest, a cap from one of his favorite golf courses, and his camera … Norm was there.

When I read his farewell article in the paper, I can admit that, as I read, I wiped away tears, just as I am doing now while writing this.

I am proud I can call Norm a friend. I am even prouder he can call me his friend. It is flattering.

If you don’t know Norm, I can assure you he is also your friend. Every member of my family knows Norm. And he knows them.

And there is never a meeting that he doesn’t ask my wife or me how each of our children are, by name, and doesn’t just ask for the sake of asking, but asks because he cares.

Norm and his brother, Art, are incredibly special to this town.

I am not sure how we are all going to handle not having either of these gentlemen keeping us abreast of not only what is going on today, or yesterday, and even yesteryear.

I know I can “Google” who won the New Milford 8-miler in 1987, but it is just as easy to call Norm … and he will probably know who finished second, and third … in every division, both men and women.

In 2013, our travel baseball team held an event on the New Milford Village Green on Mother’s Day weekend. It was called “Hey, Mom, Wanna Have a Catch?,” a fundraiser to raise money for breast health awareness.

We set the unofficial world record for playing the longest game of catch. Hundreds of people participated to keep the baseball continuously moving.

Mayor Pat Murphy opened the event by throwing the ceremonial first pitch, and it ended two full days later with Art and Norm Cummings doing what they did in their own yard as kids, playing catch and talking about life.

It was an incredible sight. They were both so proud, and so was everyone in attendance.

They both traded in their ball gloves for a typewriter a long time ago … and have now traded way up to full time use of their golf clubs.

I know I speak for many when I wish Norm the best in his retirement. I know we will still see him at every event. And when we see him, we’ll be able to have a conversation that doesn’t end with Norm saying; “I’d better get going, I’ve got to get some pictures.”

Now that Norm is not on official assignment at a game or other event, I sure hope everyone finds it in his or her heart to give Norm a lifetime pass into your event.

He has certainly earned it.

Dan Olson and family

New Milford