Tacoma Peace Prize goes to mother-son tandem

adam.ashton@thenewstribune.comMay 30, 2014 

She helped bring a peaceful end to a long-simmering dispute in her community. He spent a lifetime building up the special operations forces that are first to the fight when conflicts develop overseas.

Together, former Tacoma City Councilwoman Dawn Lucien and her son, retired Adm. Eric Olson, are this year’s co-recipients of the Greater Tacoma Peace Prize. The annual honor, usually given to a single individual, is bestowed in the manner of the Nobel Peace Prize.

Lucien is being recognized for her work in former U.S. Rep. Norm Dicks’ office helping to resolve disputed land claims between the Puyallup Tribe of Indians and private developers. She gives the credit to now-retired Dicks, who was one of the people who nominated her and her son for the peace prize.

The 1988 settlement, she said, resulted in long-term financial stability for the tribe.

Olson rose to the rank of four-star admiral and chief of the Defense Department’s Special Operations Command in his 38-year military career. He retired in August 2011, and received plaudits from Dicks and other political leaders for nurturing the Special Operations teams that killed Osama bin Laden in May of that year.

Olson now teaches graduate courses at Columbia University in New York. He visited Tacoma last year and gave a two-hour speech in which he called for the military to invest in human intelligence so it could better understand emerging threats in ungoverned parts of the world.

Lucien called the prize an honor for her family. She said it recognized that her son was “always trying to work things out so we didn’t have to exchange bullets” while he was in the military.

They are to receive the award at a ceremony in September. They’ll be flown to Norway in December to participate in Nobel Peace Prize events.

The Greater Tacoma Peace Prize, in its 10th year, was developed by Iraq veteran Thomas Heavey. Its recipients are chosen by representatives of the Sons of Norway, Daughters of Norway and Pacific Lutheran University.

Adam Ashton: 253-597-8646 adam.ashton@thenewstribune.com @tntmilitary

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