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In this Sept. 5 file photo, Chuck Madson, the director of program services for Coast Valley Treatment Centers, poses with some of the 1,000 pounds of corn grown at Lompoc's Sunset Farm Men's Recovery Home that will be donated to the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County. Madson is the sixth nominee for the 2017 Valley of Flowers Peace Prize.

Chuck Madson, a director at Coast Valley Substance Abuse Treatment Centers, is the Valley of the Flowers Peace Prize committee’s sixth nominee to be recognized for outstanding contributions to peace and understanding in the community.

Coast Valley Substance Abuse Treatment Centers is of the largest recovery programs for substance abusers in Santa Barbara County. Madson said that he knows first-hand what substance abusers are dealing with. As a young man growing up in the San Fernando Valley, he experienced years of drug abuse, leading eventually to incarceration for a drug-induced crime.

Madson moved to Lompoc in 2008. Struggling with the effects of those years of addiction and incarceration, he found his way to the Coast Valley Treatment Center and the support of Matt Hamlin and Hamlin’s father, Pastor Craig Hamlin.

From then on, Madson experienced a dramatic change in his life. He got a job as an adolescent counselor at the treatment center, was hired as a counselor at the Coast Valley Substance Abuse Center and five years ago was promoted to director.

Under Madson’s leadership, the Coast Valley Substance Abuse Treatment program expanded into two centers, one in Lompoc and one in Santa Maria, along with two residential treatment programs, one for men and one for women, and, most recently, a thrift store that benefits not only the employees but also the community.

The men’s treatment program includes the Sunset Farm Men’s Home located on a 7-acre plot of land at South J Street and Willow Avenue. The home houses eight men who are in recovery and who farm the land.

Twice a month, the organization delivers food to about 125 families and to the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County. Last year, it raised and distributed 2,000 pounds of corn and donated 600 pumpkins to Lompoc school kids to take home.

“Chuck has been quietly doing work in our community that changes lives for the better,” read Madson’s nomination letter. “His work with men, women, and teens struggling to overcome addiction and difficult pasts allows them to realize that they are important and contributing members of our community. This not only promotes peace, but actively engages others in following in Chuck’s footsteps. Chuck is an exemplary example of what it means to give back.”

Previously nominated for the 2017 Peace Prize were Shawndel Malcolm, Sarah Bleyl, Jenelle Osborne, Steve Straight and Angel Ramos. Nominations, which will be accepted through Nov. 30, can be submitted to Allie Kay Spaulding at alliekay31@comcast.net or by calling 741-7000.

The eighth annual Peace Prize recognition ceremony will be held at 3 p.m. Jan. 28 at the Valley of the Flowers United Church of Christ in Vandenberg Village.

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