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US Flag. Photo credit: U.S. Navy photo by Photographer’s Mate 2nd Class Dennis Cantrell

A San Diego lawyer who has provided many hours of free legal services for veterans is one of two women who will receive the fourth annual Trailblazer Award from the California Department of Veterans Affairs, the agency announced Tuesday.

Nicole Heffel, who served in the Navy, will be honored March 15 in Sacramento as part of Women’s Military History Week. The award honors the contributions of women veterans to the armed forces and veterans.

“We proudly recognize all California women veterans, and honor two in particular who exemplify outstanding military core values and dedication to our veterans,” said Lindsey Sin, CalVet deputy secretary for women’s veterans affairs.

According to CalVet, Heffel established the nonprofit Women Veterans Engaging the Nation and She’s Worth It, a program serving incarcerated women veterans.

Heffel’s regular legal practice focuses on estate planning.

Also receiving the award will be Navy veteran Kelly Carlisle, an East Oakland woman who founded a community garden for at-risk youth and their families, according to CalVet.

—City News Service