- Associated Press - Sunday, May 3, 2015

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - A social worker who leads a program within the North Dakota National Guard to help prevent sexual assaults and aid victims in their recovery has been recognized by the U.S. Department of Defense.

The federal agency has named Heather Mattson the 2015 Sexual Assault Response Coordinator of the Year. Mattson has served as the response coordinator for North Dakota National Guard since September 2012.

Gen. Frank Grass is the chief of the National Guard Bureau. Grass says Mattson’s efforts have greatly helped sexual assault survivors and “contributed to fostering a culture of dignity and trust within the National Guard.”

The Guard says Mattson has developed a number of innovative projects, including an annual 5K race, to increase awareness about sexual assault.

Mattson is a University of North Dakota graduate.

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