By Jane Keller Gordon, Contributing Writer
Grafton – Lawyer Heather Trudell has almost made a second career of her volunteer work in Grafton, where she lives with her husband Mike and two young children. She holds an appointed position on the Grafton Conservation Commission, is a board member of the Friends of Grafton Elders, and recently became treasurer of the South Grafton Parent-Teacher Organization (K-6).
“I love Grafton,” Trudell said. “It’s a big enough community to have a lot of diversity yet it feels like a small town.”
In addition, Trudell is chair of the Millbury Chain of Lights, an annual holiday celebration that involves local businesses. She shares her legal expertise as a member of the Committee on Services for the Poor and Homeless of the Worcester County Bar Association (WCBA), and through Volunteer Lawyer Services, which is co-sponsored by the WCBA and the Massachusetts Justice Project.
She is also an active member of the Real Estate Bar Association (REBA), and the National Academy of Elder Law Attorney’s (NAELA).
Trudell credits her mother, Sharon, and her grandmother, Marion, with her drive to volunteer and her interest in elder law. They raised her in Lakeville and both worked alternating shifts at the Jewish Healthcare Center in Worcester – her mother as a nurse and her grandmother as a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA).
“I would go with them for the changing of the guard, and spent hours there entertaining and being entertained by the residents,” she recalled. “It made an impression on me.”
During high school, Trudell volunteered at nursing homes through the National Honor Society. She earned her law degree from Suffolk University, after graduating cum laude from Boston University. While at Suffolk, Trudell volunteered at the soup kitchen at the nearby Park Street Church.
Along with her busy volunteer activities, Trudell practices general law as a partner in the firm, Keenan and Trudell, based in Millbury, specializing in real estate conveyancing, estate planning, probate administration and elder law.
Prior to partnering with Peter Keenan Jr., Trudell was an attorney at a large firm, Morrison Mahoney, LLP, where she was a litigator defending insurance companies.
“That was a great stepping stone for me… Now I am focusing on my passion of helping individuals,” she said.
With regard to volunteering, Trudell said that it is important that she sets an example for her children.
“It’s one thing to tell your kids that they have to do out and do things. It’s important to show them,” she commented.
Trudell manages her busy life with the help of her husband, mother, and mother-in-law.
“I have a great husband… and we are blessed to have great parents,” she said.
She said that the Grafton Conservation Commission is her most time-consuming volunteer position with meeting twice a month. At times, her daughter is disappointed that Trudell is not home at her bedtime, but seeing her on the local cable channel sometimes makes up for it.
Trudell has no plans to add more to her volunteering plate.
“I’m maxed out now – you can’t do a good job if you are stretched,” she said.