2015: Mr. Thomas Dixon

2014: Dawn Sharp Olson Lucien and Eric T. Olson

2013: Sallie Shawl

2012: Fr.William J. Bichsel, S.J.

2011: Dr. Donald Mott (China Partners Network)

2010: Kim Ebert-Colella (Bryant Montessori School)

2009: David T. Alger (Associated Ministries)

2008: David Corner (The Gathering Project)

2007: Ron Vignec (Salishan/Eastside Lutheran Mission)

2006: Conflict Resolution, Research and Resource Institute

          (Bill Lincoln, Polly Davis, and Dawn Hooper)

2005: George F. Russell, Jr.

2014 Laureates: Ms. Dawn Sharp Olson Lucien and Admiral Eric T. Olson, U.S. Navy (Retired)

Nominated by William Lincoln, Norm Dicks, and Clare Petrich, Dawn Olson Lucien and her son Eric Olson have served our local community and our nation for over forty years, seeking in their respective careers community and international peace.


Dawn Lucien has merged the spirit and skills of advocate and conciliator – always civil, transparent, influential, and effective. In many ways she has been the conscience of the community. As district manager for Congressman Norm Dicks, she played a key role in the 1990 Puyallup Indian Land and Jurisdictional Claims settlement. In the mid-1980s, she was instrumental in bringing together the federal government, the Puyallup Tribe, the Port of Tacoma, the City of Tacoma and numerous local municipalities and private partners. In retirement Dawn maintains strong relationships with all parties and is an informal and meaningful advisor. She remains an advocate for the Pierce County Center for Dispute Resolution; she has been a tireless contributor to community-based efforts to develop a first-class graduate degree program in dispute prevention, management, and resolution at the University of Washington – Tacoma.


Eric Olson, Dawn’s son, is a 1969 graduate of Stadium High School and a 1973 graduate of the US Naval Academy. In a career of over 35 years, he rose to the rank of Admiral, the first Navy SEAL to be promoted to the four-star rank, and ultimately served as the leader of the United States Special Operations Command (USSOC). Twice decorated for personal valor in combat, Admiral Olson advocates for the “deeper understanding of the context of any conflict as a means to predict the effects of our actions" and he has been widely quoted for his statement that "we cannot kill our way to victory in today's wars, so we must think our way to success." Retired in 2011, Admiral Olson remains a thoughtful leader for a more balanced military force, one that considers linguistic and cultural expertise as essential. In 2012, as keynote speaker at Portland District Rotary ’s “Peace Is Possible” conference, he reminded listeners: “Going to war is a political decision, not a military decision.”  He currently teaches a graduate course at Columbia University focusing on the challenges of "turning down the heat" in a time of global friction.


Together, Dawn Lucien and Eric Olson have been formidable advocates for nonviolent solutions to difficult conflicts. It is our honor to recognize these lifelong Tacomans as the 2014 Greater Tacoma Peace Prize laureates.


2013 Laureate: Sallie Shawl
Two respected members of the Tacoma community nominated Sallie Shawl for the 2013 Greater Tacoma Peace Prize, which is indicative of the high regard in which she is held throughout our community for her continued peacebuilding efforts. Too numerous to list completely, here are a few:
  • Shawl founded a local chapter of the international group, Jewish Voice for Peace, which promotes a U.S. foreign policy based on peace, democracy, human rights, and respect for international law; an end to the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, and East Jerusalem; a resolution of the Palestinian refugee problem consistent with international law and equity; an end to all violence against civilians; and peace among the peoples of the Middle East.
  • From the mid-1980s through early 1990s, Shawl led the organizations Tacoma Arabs, Jews, and Others (TAJOS) and Palestinian-Israeli Peace Endeavors (PIPES).
  • Through the Ground Zero Center for Non-Violent Action, she participated in protests of nuclear weapons at the Bangor Naval Base in Kitsap County, Washington.
  • After the terrorist attacks of 9/11, she formed the groups People for Peace, Justice, and Healing and United for Peace of Pierce County.
  • Shawl brought young people from diverse backgrounds together when she helped create and run the Interfaith Youth Camp on the Key Peninsula.
  • She was instrumental in the inauguration of the South Sound Peace and Justice Center.
  • Perhaps best known for her work with Associated Ministries of Pierce County, Sallie Shawl served as Director of Paint Tacoma Beautiful for 21 years. Executive Director Chris Morton commented, “[Sallie] is very dearly loved for all that she has done since taking the seed of an idea and cultivating it into a wonderful service to the community.”
2012 Laureate: Father William Bichsel, S.J.
 Over 160 members of the Tacoma community came out to help celebrate the presentation of the 2012 Greater Tacoma Peace Prize to peace activist Fr. Bill Bichsel on June 2, 2012, at the Spring Banquet of the Scandinavian Cultural Center, Pacific Lutheran University.

 "Brunch with Bix" was a Great Success!
Over 80 guests enjoyed a delicious Norwegian-style brunch and heard 2012 Laureate Father William "Bix" Bichsel, S.J., report on his trip to Norway, where he attended the Nobel Peace Prize Ceremony. The brunch was held on Sunday, January 27, 2013, at the Scandinavian Cultural CenterPacific Lutheran University, Tacoma WA.


Here's an article by Helen Young, in the "Huffington Post," in which she writes about Father Bix at the Nobel Peace Prize Ceremony.

Tacoma Weekly article announced Father Bichsel as the 2012 GTPP Laureate
Plowshares article reported on the June 2, 2012, Award Presentation

LINKS to other articles about Fr. Bill Bichsel, 2012 Laureate

Links to Articles written by Father Bix
Lethal Force  2009
2011: Dr. Donald Mott

In 2002, Dr. Mott, a retired pediatrician and orthopedic surgeon, was instrumental in the founding of China Partners Network.  CPN is a group of physicians, therapists, and professionals working in underserved regions of China to meet the medical needs of children with cerebral palsy and other neuromuscular disorders. Dr. Mott and others donate their talents, skills, and time to work with and to provide training to professionals in China, improving the quality of life for children and their communities.
Since its founding, members of the network, in collaboration with the Amity Foundation of Nanjing, China, have traveled to China many times to conduct workshops and courses for orphanage workers, therapy students, medical students, physicians in rehabilitation medicine, traditional Chinese medicine physicians, and others. Thousands of children who live in underserved areas of China now have improved health because of Dr. Mott and his China Partners Network team.
2010: Kim Ebert-Colella
Bryant students presen flowers to 2010 laureate Kim Ebert
Students from the Bryant Peace Committee present flowers and congratulate Ms. Ebert-Colella

"Kim brings peace to the kids she works with by helping them reflect on their own ability to be peaceful, within themselves and with others. She encourages them to think and act both locally and globally."  (Wynne Brown, Nominator)

Click to view Ms. Brown's Nomination Speech

Click to view Kim's acceptance speech, May 22, 2010, at the Spring Banquet.

Kim Ebert-Colella came to Tacoma as a Jesuit Volunteer and has continued to do peace work in all areas of her life. She volunteers at Bryant Montessori School, a racially and economically diverse school in the Hilltop area of Tacoma. She established Bryant as an International Peace Site in 2009.


Ms. Ebert-Colella established and continues to chair the Peace Committee at Bryant. The Committee, in partnership with "Pierce County Reads," raised $9,000 in 2008 to send to "Pennies for Peace," an organization which builds schools in remote regions of Pakistan and Afghanistan.


Each year, Kim helps the students at Bryant choose a peace-related theme for the year. In 2009-2010 the theme was: "Water: Peace in Every Drop." Partnered with NorwexTrue Clean (which originated in Norway), the students conserved water in their school by procuring rain barrels, which were decorated and installed around the school. Classes went on field trips to the Puget Creek watershed to learn the connection between sewer, ground water, and Puget Sound They provided opportunities for all the students in the school to learn about the impact of our storm drains on our watersheds and the salmon population


Another goal of the Peace Committee in 2009-2010 was to raise $6,000 for the ETTA Project, which helped a poor village in Bolivia start a community garden and get running water to homes and the school in order to improve health. The garden provides the children of the village with fresh vegetables to augment their meager daily diet.


Kim's deep passion for helping people has taken her all over the world. Through the high school youth ministries at her church, St. Nicholas in Gig Harbor, WA, she traveled to the barrios of Tijuana, Mexico. She ministered to both the elderly and teens as a Jesuit Volunteer; traveled alone to Calcutta because she had always wanted to meet and work with Mother Teresa; joined a delegation of women who traveled to South Africa; and worked in Hospice centers and homes in multiple villages to fight the AIDS crisis.


Kim received her B.A. in liberal studies, with a minor in psychology, from the College of St. Benedict and earned a Master’s Degree in pastoral studies from Seattle University. She makes her home in Tacoma, Washington, with her husband Niko and son Sam.

Click here to read an article about Ms. Ebert-Colella in the May 22, 2010, edition of The News Tribune, and click here to read Kim's moving account of her family's visit to the Nansen Peace Center in Lillehammer, Norway, on December 9, 2010.


Wynne Brown and Danielle Lemieux
Wynne Brown nominated Kim for the award. French hornist Danielle Lemieux provided entertainment.
committee and Tonia with Kim
GTPP Committee members look on; Tonia Simpson, Committee Chair introduces Ms. Ebert.
2009: Reverend David T. Alger

 Reverend Alger, nominated by Saundra Sanderson, served for nearly thirty years as Executive Director of Associated Ministries. In his ecumenical work, Rev. Alger helped bring different faith groups together to build a community that is humane, compassionate and just.


He was instrumental in the founding and growth of many agencies that help to build such a community, including (among others)


  • the Pierce County AIDS Foundation,
  • the Indochinese Culture and Service Center,
  • the Shalom Center (focusing on Central American and Middle Eastern Peace),
  • the South Sound Peace and Justice Center,
  • the Pierce County Dispute Resolution Center,
  • Faith Partners Against Family Violence,
  • the Moments of Blessing program (services held to reclaim places where homicides have occurred), and
  • the Hilltop Action Coalition.

Read an article about Rev. Alger by clicking here.  And click here to read David and Sally Alger's account of their trip to Oslo, Norway, in December of 2009.

Sanderson and Alger
(top) Sandra Sanderson tells why she nominated David T. Alger for the 2009 Peace Prize (bottom)
2008:  David Corner

Tacoma resident David Corner, nominated by Dr. Robert Klein, was awarded the 2008 Greater Tacoma Peace Prize. Mr. Corner is the founder and director of The Gathering Project, a humanitarian organization he created in 1997 after visiting Africa as part of the Men's Fellowship for Ghana mission program. He had the vision to join the vast amounts of surplus and waste materials destined for landfills from businesses and hospitals in the Western US with the people and programs that desperately need them. As a result, the Gathering Project has gathered and shipped thousands of tons of goods around the world, and provided support for programs in the Tacoma area and across North America. By building trusted relationships with local businesses, hospitals and schools, The Gathering Project has been able to remove usable goods from the waste stream. From hospitals alone the organization saved an estimated $80-90,000 in landfill costs, but more importantly provided usable medical supplies and equipment around the world.


The Gathering Project has shipped about 160 containers of goods to more than 40 countries around the world. After last year's magnitude 8.0 earthquake in Peru, they quickly had a container of relief supplies on the scene and in local hands, even before the Red Cross. Domestically, Corner also gathered and shipped 35 trailer loads of household and relief supplies to areas of need. He supports a wide variety of organizations with donated goods, incl. Goodwill Industries, St. Vincent DePaul, Community Health Care, the Tacoma Seaman's Center, as well as individuals and foreign sailors in need.


In the course of his work, Corner has visited 12 African countries. He was elected a Lt. Governor of Kiwanis, and is one of the founders of Tacoma's Sister City agreement with the City of George, South Africa. He is also on the Board of Kenya Methodist Development Association, the American support arm of Kenya Methodist University in Meru, Kenya. The Gathering Project has also supported the small farmers and crafts people of Kenya by directly importing coffee and handicrafts for sale here. Corner frequently works with local public agencies and educational institutions on international trade issues for developing countries.

David Corner family supporters and nominator
David Corner receives certificate from GTPP committee member Andreas udbye (l.) and Mr. Corner poses with family and supporters, includign Dr. Robert Klein, who nominated him. (far right)
2007:  Ron Pierre Vignec
Ron Vignec and David Alger
(l.) Pastor Vignec speaks at a synod event (r.) Vignec chats with PLU student and Rev. David T. Alger

The Rev. Ron Pierre Vignec received the prize in 2007. Pastor Vignec founded the Salishan/Eastside Lutheran Mission in 1985. He played the key role in revitalizing the Salishan neighborhood in east Tacoma, the largest federal housing project on the West Coast. It once was awash in violence, drugs, prostitution, and ethnic tensions, but Vignec's hard work has helped drop every measurable crime statistic in Salishan.


The nomination submission from Louis Zubaly and Bill Lincoln stated that Pastor Ron's activities "exemplify international peace work within diverse and often troubled communities as he creatively, persistently, effectively and non-intrusively responds to the need of citizens and non-citizens while striving to find ways to help them develop sustainable cultures of peace with justice." Former Bishop David Wold remarked, "Ron is my passport to worlds I have not known."


Pastor Ron, as he is known in the community, has been serving the community for years demonstrating authentic leadership as a liaison with law enforcement, educators, news reporters, community organizations, non-profit agencies, businesses as well as community, civic and elected government leaders. His approach to community service and the building of communities has created a positive evolution of the fabric of the Salishan/Eastside region of the county and far beyond. Mr. Lincoln adds, "People from all over the world have made Tacoma their home, often coming from war torn regions or from extreme poverty. If we want peace in the world we need to strive for peace with justice at home as well, particularly in concert with persons of different cultures and beliefs. For years, we have had among us a true peace worker who deals with global problems on our local scene."


Read Ron and Nancy Vignec's account of their Norway trip.

Click here to read an article about Pastor Ron and the GTPP. 

Pastor Ron Vignec, known in Tacoma as the "Bishop of Salishan",  passed away on Sunday, November 10, 2013. The Memorial Service was held on Thursday, Nov. 21 at Urban Grace Church in Tacoma, Washington. Here is an article about the service from the News Tribune. Pastor Ron will be greatly missed!

Links to articles about Ron:
Son Lauren's tribute to his father
the News Tribune: Nov. 11
KING5News: Nov. 12

2006: CRI - Bill Lincoln and Polly Davis
Rick Oglesby Bill Lincoln Julio Quan
(l.) Rick Oglesby stands with Bill Lincoln as he receives award (r.) Bill Lincoln and Julio Quan

In 2006, the committee was pleased to award the Prize to CRI (Conflict Resolution, Research

and Resource Institute). Mr. Julio Quan of Centro Latino submitted the nomination, citing Executive Director William F. (Bill) Lincoln and Associate Director Polly Davis for "doing whatever it takes to restore peace in troubled regions, often accepting the risks without a fee."


The mission of CRI (now the Lincoln Institute) is to teach and practice the prevention, management, and resolution of conflict in the community, the nation, and the world through the utilization of time-tested theories, processes, and techniques which ensure equitable, practical, and lasting agreements.

2005: George F. Russell, Jr.


The 2005 Greater Tacoma Peace Prize recipient, our first laureate, was George F. Russell, Jr. Mr. Russell was nominated by Karin Moye Kelley, of Bates Technical College, for his work in the realm of peace education, security and peace awareness both regionally and globally. While his success in the investment field is no secret, his calling to spend the rest of his life dedicated to peace endeavors is far less public. He has been called a visionary, in that he sees time not in terms of months or years, but in generations and centuries. His "hands-on" efforts in the arena of peace work have touched lives in our own neighborhoods and in countries around the world.


Just a few examples of his work include the following:


  • Big Homie Project, Tacoma -- through Jane's Fellowship Program, The Russell Family Foundation is supporting the gang intervention work of Lawrence Stone in Tacoma.
  • Hate Free Zone, Seattle -- piloted a high school curriculum on promoting peace and
  • understanding following September 11th.
  • Nuclear Threat Initiative -- to resolve global threat posed by loose nukes.
  • Transmutation Technologies --  focused on the possibility of destroying nuclear waste.
  • Business Humanitarian Forum -- This group focuses on global peace issues.
  • National Bureau of Asian Research -- committed to promoting effective and far-sighted policy in the United States, throughout Asia and in Russia.
  • East West Institute --  various projects promoting democracy, government transparency and related peace issues in the former Soviet Union.


Through research support and meeting with political leaders around the world, his work will

undoubtedly have a positive impact on families and communities for generations to come.