Lucy Thoms-Harrington has focused a lot of her volunteer work on youth-related issues with a passion toward creating positive paths for the community’s future leaders.
“They need our help,” she said. “The town needs our help. We need to create the next generation of leaders to set a positive trajectory for their lives.”
“I was lucky in my career and in my life to have a lot of positive strong women role models and I knew that they made a difference because they made a difference for me,” Thoms-Harrington told Noozhawk.
“And I wanted to, in some small way, help contribute in a similar way to others who might not have that in their lives.”
Thoms-Harrington recently was named Lompoc Valley Woman of Year during the annual awards banquet hosted by the Lompoc Valley Chamber of Commerce.
Others celebrated alongside Thoms-Harrington were the Man of Year Award recipient Don Ramirez, Small Business Excellence Award winner South Side Coffee Co. and Volunteer of the Year Award winner Tina Mercer.
The banquet also introduced the incoming chairman, Jeremy Ball.
Thoms-Harrington, 62, said she was surprised to hear her name called, noting she has served with previous Women and Men of the Year Award recipients, all of whom she has held in high esteem.
“I admire them and am pretty humbled to be mentioned in the same sentence as those guys,” she said.
Thoms-Harrington, an independent consultant, and her husband, Tim Harrington, have one daughter.
The Woman of the Year Award winner’s work with youths comes at an especially vital time in the Lompoc Valley, which has experienced a spike in youth violence, including the March 4 fatal shooting of an innocent bystander, a 17-year old girl.
Thoms-Harrington said she views her work as helping youths to get the tools to develop their voices in speaking about critical issues affecting them.
“They don’t feel safe,” she said, recalling one teen girl speaking at a City Council meeting about losing her friend to random violence and her comments about not having hope.
“It’s a call to action. I think all of these things, what’s happening in town, it’s a catalyst to action,” she said, urging her fellow residents to answer that call and create a positive future for youths.
Thoms-Harrington serves on the board of Channel Islands YMCA, which oversees seven facilities from Camarillo to Lompoc.
She also serves on the Lompoc YMCA board, which — by her count — now boasts at least four Lompoc Women of the Year Award recipients.
“It’s a tremendous organization,” she said. “It touches a lot of lives. I think that’s why we’re all engaged with it. It’s a leader in the community.”
She is active in the American Association of University Women’s Lompoc-Vandenberg Branch, championing Speech Trek and Tech Trek. The latter introduces middle-school students to science and math.
But Thoms-Harrington doesn’t want a story focusing on her — instead making sure to mention some key upcoming events.
For instance, a trivia event Sept. 25 at The Mission Club in Vandenberg Village will raise funds for the Lompoc Community Education Foundation, which provides mini grants for Lompoc Unified School District teachers who need financial help for classroom projects.
Another fundraiser, Oct. 13 at La Purisima Mission, will boost the Lompoc Community Scholarship Fund, which aims to provide scholarships for Lompoc Valley youths planning to attend colleges or trade schools. The fund is overseen by the Scholarship Foundation of Santa Barbara.
And the eighth annual Santa Barbara County Veterans’ Stand Down will take place Oct. 19 at the Santa Maria Fairpark, with donations of new clothes and towels accepted at several locations, including at the Lompoc YMCA, 201 W. College Ave.
Rest assured, that receiving the award doesn’t mean Thoms-Harrington intends to slow down on her volunteer gigs.
“There’s too much work to be done,” she added.