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peace prize could be awarded in every city, in every metropolis, in every cross-

road hamlet in the world. Catholics vs. Protestants, Jews vs. Palestinians, Tutsi vs.

Hutu: tribes taking up arms against tribe, nationality vs. nationality, sect vs. sect,

gender groups, political groups, us vs. them. But not in Lompoc, at least not today.

Is it a lucky roll of the dice? We think not. At Valley of the Flowers United Church of

Christ we believe we benefit from people working here to further peace and reconcilia-

tion. But an alleyway shooting will steal headlines from a peacemaker any day. Should

we not honor, and support, the bridge builders among us while we can? Next Tuesday at

least one headline in one town in California will reverse the trend. Maybe some village

in Idaho will follow suit.

The idea for a prize surfaced at this church in a brainstorming session in August 2009.

The Valley of the Flowers Peace Prize was commissioned by the church council in Feb-

ruary 2010. The Prize, a 24-pound, 24-inch multi-medium sculpture was completed in

July. It was fabricated of black walnut, high grade copper alloy and ceramic by Victoria

McReynolds and Brian Widmaier. The artists envisioned the work, reconciling wood,

metal, and earth, as a metaphor for peace. Ms. McReynolds, a 1997 graduate of Lompoc High School, is an architecture

instructor at Texas Tech in Lubbock.

In August Rev. Chuck Arnold declared “This beautiful prize can help make us mindful of acts of peace, understanding

and reconciliation which happen every day.”

The Peace Prize committee adopted as evaluative criteria local actors and actions, continuity in areas most needed,

impact on numbers of people and public visibility.

The Lompoc Vision

“Good News You Can Use.”


Nominee P

am Buchanan


been active in numerous public

events. She was Program Chair-

woman of the local branch of the

American Association of Uni-

versity Women and as such orga-

nized a dynamic speech contest

for high school students called

Speech Trek. She was instru-

mental in forming Lompoc Pride

Alliance to promote the inter-

ests of the LGBTQ+ community


Nominee is 8-year-old



, whose grandmother,

Leslie Halem nominated him

because of his many projects to

help others. First, he ran a lem-

onade stand, raising $100 which

he used to buy books and toys

for children living at Bridge-

house homeless shelter. His cam-

paign “Pennies for Pioneer Park”

raised enough money to replace

broken swings in the park. A new

venture is Bowser Bags--bags

decorated with paw prints and

filled with doggie treats which

he gives to homeless people with


Nominee is

Katy Wallace,

principal of Maple High School,

a continuation high school for

students whose educational needs are not met in a tradi-

tional high school. Katy encourages students to try hard,

take risks, and meet goals, and she often takes students to

lunch who are successful. She encourages her students to

speak at City Council meetings and to otherwise participate

in community activities.


To Honor Nominees From the Community


Yasmin Dawson


swept back in time when the son

of a coworker was shot down at

A& Ocean September 8. He was

a serviceman home on leave.

She remembered years ago when

her own brother was slain on the

streets of Philadelphia and there

was no community response.

She organized a march and vigil

that drew an estimated 800 peo-

ple. 62


Rev. Eric De La


is pastor of In His Hands

Ministries. His day job is as an

estimator/salesman for a paving

company but his calling is to

youth. At a City Council hearing

on goals last spring, the crowd

demanded more police. De La

Cruz and his family alone made

the case for youth services. 56


Yuri Gomez

is a so-

cial worker. In studying for her

masters degree she carpooled

with other social work students

to Ventura for classes. In the

car conversation often turned to

Lompoc youth problems. When

a school assignment called for

a group project, the friends col-

laborated on a plan called Lom-

poc Youth Connections and put

it into action at public events be-

ginning in April. 63


Eddie Perez


about to graduate from Cal State

Channel Islands, saw the arc

of his life change at a summer

leadership camp. In 2019 he

organized in Lompoc a youth-

led leadership group affiliated

with Future Leaders of America

which raised $15,000 to send

thirteen local youth to the same

summer camp he had attended.



Guadalupe Perez


Director of the IMPORTA office

in Lompoc. IMPORTA special-

izes in immigration counselling

for families trying to navigate

the ever-changing crazy quilt of

US immigration laws. She ends

the year helping young people

renew their DACA visas. 39


Jose Trejo


a restaurant on North H Street.

He came to Lompoc at the age

of five from Ario de Rayon, Mi-

choacan, Mexico. His business

sponsors athletic teams, adult

and youth, and contributes to

campaigns to help families with

medical bills. „There‘s not a

lot for the kids in Lompoc,“ he

says. „If more merchants help,

we could get more kids off the

street.“ 65