The Fernando Prize Foundation on Wednesday announced 17 nominees for this year’s Fernando Prize.

“This is one of the largest and most diverse candidate pools in Fernando’s history,” said Fernando Award Foundation co-chairs Mark Levinson and Pegi Matsuda. “It shows that despite the challenges everyone has faced over the past few months, volunteering and community involvement are more important than ever. The group of nominees this year represents a large cross section of our valley.

The award has been presented since 1958, generally to an individual who exemplifies exceptional service to the community. The award was not awarded last year due to the pandemic.

Among the 17 nominees, five finalists will be announced at the end of August. The recipient of the award will be announced at the annual gala on November 5 at the Skirball Cultural Center.

The 17 nominees:

Paula Bahamon of Mission Valley Bank, nominated by MEND (Meet Each Need With Dignity) and Janet Marinaccio.

Cindy Chernow of Chernow Consulting, nominated by April Lindh and Alejandra Hernandez.

Timothy Gaspar of Gaspar Insurance Services Inc., sponsored by the West Valley-Warner Center Chamber of Commerce and the West Valley YMCA.

Kim Guard of Express Employment Professionals, appointed by Ascencia and the Campbell Center.

Tamara Gurney of Mission Valley Bank, nominated by Charles Crumley and Marianne Haver Hill.

Carol Loweree of the North Valley Regional Chamber of Commerce, nominated by Nancy Cartwright and the North Valley Regional Chamber of Commerce.

Jeri Dye Lynch of the Conor Lynch Foundation, appointed by the Greater San Fernando Valley Chamber of Commerce and Nicola Khan.

Louise Oliver of Goodwill Southern California, nominated by the Valley Economic Alliance and the San Fernando Community Health Center.

Kashmira Omar of Unique Individuals, nominated by Moses T. Olamiti and Patricia Khayyam.

Jorge Rabaso from the Office of Jorge Rabaso, nominated by New Economics for Women and Alex Guerrero.

Diana Sanchez of Los Angeles World Airports-Van Nuys, nominated by the Encino Chamber of Commerce and the Mid-Valley YMCA.

Tammy Scher of Forgotten Treasurez, nominated by the Sherman Oaks Chamber of Commerce and the Kiwanis Club / Entertainment Industry Group.

Kathleen Sterling of Valley News Group, nominated by Sherry Keowen and Gail Brow.

Shannon Sullivan of Daniel Pearl Magnet High School, nominated by Martina Torres and Leah Pevar.

Irene Tovar of the Latin American Civic Association, nominated by California State University – Northridge and Richard McMillan.

David Tuckman of the Department of Homeland Security, appointed by Ali Tuckman and Jeremy Sonenschein.

Gustavo Valdespino of Valley Presbyterian Hospital, nominated by ONEgeneration and Tori McNees.

“This is an impressive pool of applicants,” said Fred Gaines, president of the Valley Economic Alliance and former mayor of Calabasas, who is one of the community committee members formed to select five finalists from the pool of applicants.

“It will be an exciting and difficult decision-making process due to the number of applicants and their many and varied accomplishments as community volunteers. “

The Fernando Award is considered the highest recognition for community volunteering in the San Fernando Valley region. In addition to recognizing an outstanding volunteer, the Fernando Award organization also offers scholarships to students who have been leaders of volunteerism in their schools.

The Fernando 2021 board of directors, in addition to Levinson and Matsuda, includes Paul Davis, David Honda, Marian Jocz, Bruce Miller, Walter Mosher, Mike Quiroga, Thor Steingraber, Dale Surowitz and Mark Villasenor.