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5 More Nominated for Annual Lompoc Valley of the Flowers Peace Prize

The five additional people nominated for the Lompoc Valley of the Flowers Peace Prize include a Santa Barbara City College instructor, a yoga studio owner, a school administrator and community volunteers.

The newest nominees joining four others announced earlier are Joe White, an SBCC philosophy instructor and leader of “2020 A Year Without War”; Valley Haven executive Susan Lindman; yoga studio owner Virginia Traylor; community volunteer Steve Heuring; and Carmen Chavez, principal of Hapgood Elementary School.

White was called “the visionary leader” for 2020 A Year Without War in his nomination paperwork.

“It gives college students and young people the opportunity to work on a global project and mentors students in a leadership position of global importance, while creating dialogue about stopping war for one year,” according to the nomination information submitted to the Peace Prize Committee.

White received a proclamation in support of A Year Without War from the Lompoc City Council with other communities, including Santa Barbara, following the lead.

“His dream has a plan: use technology to create an online global community of like-minded individuals who are ready to step back and re-think the real and present costs and profits of war and possibly imagine a different way,” said Kathleen Griffith, a community member who wrote to the committee.

“His plan has a deadline — the year 2020.”

White’s passion for the project is infectious, Griffith said. The popular instructor has been nominated for National Professor of the Year.

Lindman, who served in the Navy during the Vietnam War, later worked as a nurse in a psychiatric hospital, the Visiting Nurses Association and Santa Barbara County’s Chronic Disease & Aging Programs.

In 2008, she joined the advisory board of Valley Haven, a senior day-care program. She didn’t let breast cancer or a stroke interfere with her duties.

Three years later, Lindman became president of Valley Haven’s board, leading efforts to secure a larger space for the program and acquire funding to add sidewalks, landscaping and outdoor patios for the facility.

When the executive director left in the fall of 2014, Lindman filled in while achieving her goal of expanding the board and helping more veterans and low-income residents.

“Susan’s willingness and spirit have been a gift to our community,” added the nomination information for Lindman.

Traylor, who opened Yoga Vie yoga studio in Vandenberg Village two years ago, was nominated by the 2015 yoga teacher training graduates.

“She has worked hard to create a connected and supported community, promoting health and wellness through yoga,” the group said. “She welcomes people from all walks of life and encourages her students to think of yoga as more than just a workout.”

On Friday mornings, Traylor opens her studio to the public for free, self-guided practice and meditation, creating a space where students can inspire each other and grow together.

“Her dedication and commitment to serving the community and to helping people tune into quieting their minds ultimately sends a message of peace and a realization that we are all capable of helping ourselves and others,” the nomination said.

Heuring, a civilian employee at the Vandenberg Air Force Base Public Affairs Office, has lived in Vandenberg Village for 15 years.

During that time, he participated in multiple community projects that have led to better communication and understanding among residents.

For instance, in August, Heuring organized a public panel discussion attended by county and other agencies to share issues of concern.

Heuring’s interest in community affairs gained momentum when he joined the Vandenberg Village Association in 2010. He also has been president of the association since 2013, plus is active in Lompoc Valley in Bloom and the Vandenberg Village Park & Playground Project.

He also spearheaded an initiative to connect surplus federal computer equipment to classrooms in need. Some 160 items were donated to Santa Maria’s Fesler Junior High School through this program.

Chavez not only is principal of Hapgood School but also directs the Lompoc Unified School District’s dual-immersion language academy at the campus.

“A byproduct of learning two languages seems to be greater interpersonal understanding,” Chavez said. “It seems like they have the fewest issues coming through the office. They see themselves as scholars. It really is a community, a rich family.

“They experience how to learn from others. That’s the richest thing. They ask each other. Throughout the day everyone gets to be a star,” she added.

The Lompoc native graduated from Lompoc High School and UC Santa Barbara, then served in the Peace Corps in Belize.

A ceremony honoring Peace Prize nominees will be held at 3 p.m. Jan. 31, at Valley of the Flowers United Church of Christ, 3346 Vandenberg Road in Vandenberg Village.

Previous nominees for the 2015 prize are Lompoc Police Chief Pat Walsh; church volunteer Victor Bobo; the Rev. Thomas Brandenberg, an at-risk youth mentor; and Catalina McIsaac, founder of Art.Peace.Imagine.

The recipient of last year’s Peace Prize was Cabrillo High School counselor Lauren Pressman.

Nominations of Lompoc Valley residents can be made through Dec. 31 by contacting Allie Kay Spaulding at 805.741.7000 or [email protected].

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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