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Event Information: Brenda Mancini Heller

Meet Brenda Mancini Heller

Since the age of three, Brenda Mancini Heller was a ballerina. When faced with the decision between pursuing a college degree or a professional career in ballet as a junior in high school, she was torn. It was when she visited Norwich University, The Military College of Vermont, that she realized what direction she wanted to take with her life.

“I loved being a dancer. Having the discipline, the physical yearning to be able to push yourself, and the mental toughness required for being a dancer transcended perfectly into the military.”

Upon graduation from Norwich University in 1999, Heller was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant as a Medical Corp Officer in the U.S. Army. Stationed in Fort Riley, Kansas, she worked as an Ambulance Platoon Leader, a Company Commander, and Battalion Adjutant.

Throughout her time in the service, Heller earned an Army Commendation Medal, three Army Achievement Medals, a National Defense Service Medal, an Expert Field Medical Badge, and a Parachutist Badge (“Jump Wings”).

Going in to the Army as a 2nd Lieutenant, Heller says “I was humbled to learn from the Non-Commissioned Officers and Officers that had the experience and knowledge which taught me how to be a leader and how to treat people; they made me the person I am today.”

While she ended her time in the service to begin a professional career, she still remains closely involved with the military as a veteran. In 2012, she spent four years as a Project Manager for a local non-profit veterans organization in Worcester, Massachusetts, and also served on the Women Veterans’ Network Committee. Even in her current job at Saint-Gobain, Heller is a member of the Veterans Employee Resource Group, and works to give back to the Veteran Community.

Heller was born and raised in Ashland. Her father, Louis Mancini, is the local cross country and track coach for Ashland High School. He was not only the reason she started running, he was also the reason she went to the marathon every year and the reason she and her dad, along with the Ashland High School Track and Field Team, have run in the B.A.A. 5K every year since 2010. This year three generations of Mancinis will participate in the B.A.A. 5K, as both sons are now old enough to run with Heller and her father.

Heller promises to save her legs for the Military Relay only a few days after. “Running in the Military Relay is an overwhelming, emotional opportunity that is the trifecta of everything I want to represent. I am proud to be a part of something that honors those men and women who have sacrificed so much.”

B.A.A. Moment

Brenda Mancini Heller

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