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2018 Community Action Champions

Community Action Champions, from left, Kevin Walthers, Fran Forman and Robert Freeman, representing CenCal Health, display the awards they received Thursday night at the Community Action Commission's annual Champions Dinner in Solvang.

Two individuals and one organization were honored for their community service Thursday night by the Community Action Commission of Santa Barbara County at the 13th annual Champions Dinner in Solvang.

Fran Forman, Kevin Walthers and CenCal Health were recognized as Community Action Champions at the dinner in the Root 246 restaurant at Hotel Corque.

Community Action Champions are described as extraordinary individuals who have helped improve the lives of children, youth, families and seniors in their communities.

Forman recently retired as the executive director of the Community Action Commission, where she worked to promote education, job skills, economic security and physical and emotional well-being for children, teens, seniors and families.

As the superintendent/president of Hancock College, Walthers has worked to build relationships with the community and launched the Hancock Promise program that allows graduates from Santa Maria, Lompoc, Santa Ynez and Cuyama high schools to attend their first year at the college free of charge.

CenCal Health is a nonprofit health care organization that provides low-cost health insurance to nearly 180,000 people in Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties through a network of 300 primary care physicians and 1,400 specialists.

As the result of a matching grant from CenCal Health, this year’s event raised more than $100,000 to support the Healthy Senior Lunch program of the Community Action Commission.

“Tonight, we are all partners in the quest to ensure our seniors remain healthy and independent — that makes each one of you a champion as well,” Patricia Keelean, executive director of the Community Action Commission, told an audience of almost 200 guests.

In addition to the guests of honor, other notable attendees at the dinner included Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown, CenCal Health Chief Executive Officer Robert Freeman, Goleta Mayor Paula Perotte, Hancock College Board of Directors Vice President Guy R. Walker, 5th District Supervisor Steve Lavagnino and Goleta City Councilman Michael T. Bennett.

The top event sponsors were CenCal Health, Rabobank, Arthur Gallagher, BB&H Benefit Designs, the Chumash Foundation and Deckers.

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