Jessica Nicely

A Gilbert woman is among three people who will be honored next month with East Valley Man and Woman of the year awards by Positive Paths.

The regional nonprofit, whose mission is “building life bridges for women,” will salute Jessica Nicely, founder/CEO of Winged Hope Family Advocacy Foundation as its East Valley Woman of the Year.

Dr. Brad Smith will be honored as man  of the year at Positive Path’s annual East Valley Night of Heroes Gala on April 16 at Stonebridge Manor in Mesa. 

The “Igniting a Future” gala will include silent and live auction items, as well as time to honor those individuals who have done exceptional work serving East Valley women and families. 

Nicely will be recognized “for her critical work in founding and developing a non-profit organization in Gilbert that supports individuals and families who have been victims of child abuse, domestic violence, and other traumas.”

 In addition to offering direct victim services, Nicely has spearheaded efforts to develop advocacy centers and renovate shelters, as well as provide training and education in awareness, prevention and treatment, Positive Paths said.

Smith is the medical director and primary on-site physician for Mission of Mercy and Paula Wirth founded the Desert Cancer Foundation of Arizona.

Wirth has spent more than two decades as a leader at every level for many East Valley causes and organizations.

 She will be recognized with the East Valley Legacy Award, given for long-term outstanding contribution to women and families. 

Wirth is a founding member, president and events chairperson, for the Desert Cancer Foundation of Arizona, which has provided free mammograms to more than 1,500 women.

Proceeds from the gala on April 16 benefit Positive Paths, which serves East Valley women with education and mentoring programs. 

Sponsorships, tables and tickets are available at