The Malibu Times is proud to announce the 2018 Dolphin Award honorees. The following candidates are commended for their hard work and commitment to the Malibu community, and will be honored at the Dolphin Awards Ceremony on March 10.
Heroes of the Woolsey Fire
This year, the Malibu Dolphin Foundation honors the scores of local heroes who protected homes and neighborhoods throughout the city at their own risk, in the face of flames from the Woolsey Fire. Malibu will never forget their service to the community. The foundation has established an honor scroll listing the names of heroes. The scroll will be presented at the Dolphin Awards Ceremony.
Business Heroes of Malibu
As residents who stayed back had little to no access to basic food and supplies during the days of the Woolsey Fire, staff members at local restaurants and stores stepped up to help. From eastern to western Malibu, these people opened their kitchens, stores and hearts for those who did not evacuate—all at little to no cost. They will also be recognized on the honor scroll.
Youth Dolphin: Nina Hungerland
In the crucial hours after the Woolsey Fire first erupted, young Nina Hungerland made the choice to rescue three horses belonging to local residents Scott Hosfeld and Maria Newman, and stayed with them at Zuma Beach through the night. Hungerland and her father, Henry, assisted countless other families by putting out spot fires, checking in on fellow Malibuites and looking after other animals. Her nomination letter calls her the neighbor “always willing to lend a hand, showing up in times of need, whether major or minor, and uniquely dedicated to our Malibu community.”
Youth Dolphin: Isabella and Sebastian Soderqvist
Local siblings Isabella and Sebastian Soderqvist have become community pillars in their own right after spending much of their time volunteering to help people in need. Sebastian began volunteering from a young age, helping his parents feed the homeless. After his recent graduation from high school, he is helping full-time at Izzy’s Donation Center, which provides clothing and other goods to fire victims. The center is named after his sister, Isabella (“Izzy”), who performed a rap about the fire while selling hats to raise money. She was also recently honored with the Webster Spirit Award for her kind and giving nature.
Youth Dolphin: Pepperdine Graphic journalists
The third Malibu Youth Dolphin Award goes to the student journalists of the Pepperdine Graphic. Their reporters were on the scene last November outside the Borderline Bar & Grill in Thousand Oaks—where, they later learned, a fellow student died during the mass shooting. Not 24 hours later, they provided round-the-clock coverage of the Woolsey Fire from Pepperdine. The journalists then worked over their Thanksgiving break to put out a special issue, “In the Midst of Tragedy,” covering the Pepperdine perspective on the tragedies. They continue to produce insightful content for their peers and the greater Malibu community.
Longtime resident, local artist and Malibu Times contributor Johanna Spinks has a talent for capturing her fellow neighbors and community members through her portraits. As the “face” behind “Face of Malibu” and now, “Face of Malibu Rebuilds,” Spinks makes an effort to collect the stories and struggles of locals, and share them to the greater public in a meaningful fashion.
The Malibu Foundation, as its website states, was created by people who love Malibu to aid those affected in and around the city by the wildfire. Initially started by Trevor Neilson and Evelin Weber, the group grew to include locals such as Miley Cyrus, Liam Hemsworth, Alice Bamford, Ann Eysenring, Joe Flanigan, Rory Kennedy and Kelly Meyer, all of whom continue to raise money—totaling more than $4 million at last count—for a better future.
Kasey Earnest went above and beyond her call as executive director of the Boys & Girls Club of Malibu to establish the Malibu Emergency Relief Fund in less than a week, to aid individuals and families affected by the Woolsey Fire. At the end of January, the group was able to disburse more than $1 million in emergency funding. BGCM initially assumed the responsibility of a donation center, which provided clothing, shoes and other household items to victims. Day-to-day, Earnest oversees programs established through the club to help local kids succeed.
Nomination letters were set in droves by people including local leaders such as Craig Foster, Dr. Cheli Nye, Dr. Pamela Herkner, Mark Kelly, Patrick Miller, Mikke Pierson, Karen Farrer and Skylar Peak.
Andrew K. Benton
As Pepperdine University’s longest-serving president, Andrew K. Benton leaves behind a legacy as “the students’ president.” He is credited with bringing the university into the 21st century, expanding campus reach both locally—with the creation of the Pepperdine-AEG partnership—and abroad. Benton, Pepperdine’s nearly 20-year president, secured around $1 billion growth in assets for the university during his tenure.
Lt. James “Jim” Royal
Lieutenant James “Jim” Royal, former Malibu liaison of the Malibu/Lost Hills Sheriff’s Station, mastered his role with a calm and cool efficiency. With the endorsement of six former Malibu mayors, Royal was known for being well-liked by most Malibuites—a difficult achievement, to say the least, according to his nomination letter. He led the PCH Task Force, a group consisting of law enforcement, Caltrans, elected officials and community activists in charge of keeping and improving safety along State Route 1.