The group’s monthly meetings were halted by the Covid lockdowns. It was formed back in 1978 when former Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory Director Michael May suggested that local leaders needed to understand more about what goes on in the lab with its key mission of developing and testing nuclear weapons as anti-nuclear rallies were drawing hundreds and even thousands of protesters to the lab gates.
Many of the details were and are classified, but there was a lack of general knowledge about the scope and importance of what the mission is and what happened at the valley’s largest employer. The group started out meeting in the lab’s south cafeteria (then an open area of the lab right off East Avenue that was open in those days.) Heightened security concerns after 9-11 led to East Avenue being closed and security tightened at both the lab and Sandia. It still maintains that posture but has developed the Open Campus in the last decade to encourage more industry and academic collaboration.
Through its lab connection, the Valley Study Group typically featured lab leaders from classified programs sharing what they could as well as more open programs such as biomedical. In its early days, there were lots of community leaders involved as members for the dinner meetings. As it has evolved over the years, many retirees from the lab and Sandia were in the membership. It separated from the lab and started meeting off-site in the 1990s.
Most meetings still centered on the lab although other speakers addressed other issues of community interest. It probably has served its purpose.
I’ve been involved with the East Bay Healing Center (meets the third Saturday monthly) for more than five years. During the pandemic, we had to pivot from hands-on prayer at Parkway Church in Dublin to using Zoom. The Holy Spirit has demonstrated that he’s not bound by time or space and we’ve been able to pray for people who have no way of getting to Dublin, including people out-of-state and around the Bay Area.
One of them is a much older lady that we’ve engaged with several times. Initially, prayers were for hip replacement surgery and recovery. When we prayed for her this month, it was delightful. She was turning 93 and hoped to regain her driver’s license after the surgery gave her more control of her right food. One of her prayers was for her 75th—yes, 75th high school reunion last month. She was organizing it for George Washington High in San Francisco where she also retired many years ago as an administrator. May we all live such fullfilling and long lives.