By Lars Dalseide | August 30 2012 16:23

Sybil Ludington Women’s Freedom Award recognizes modern day heroines and their legislative work to protect the 2nd Amendment

Nicole 'Nikki' Goesler, winner of NRA's 2012 Ludington Women's Award, at the Tennessee state capitol Fairfax, Virginia - If you don't know the name Nicole Goeser, well, you should. Think again. Maybe you know her by the name of Nikki. In either case, you will know her now as the winner of NRA's 2012 Sybil Ludington Women’s Freedom Award.

On April 2, 2009, Nikki was working with her husband Ben in a Tennessee restaurant. It was a family karaoke business. During the night's shift, Ben was shot and killed by a man who had been stalking Nikki. She was there.

Though a conceal carry permit holder, Tennessee law did not allow Nikki to carry inside a bar or restaurant. She decided to change that.

After countless weeks and months of meeting with lawmakers and testifying before committees, Nikki was able to help change that law in Tennessee.

"She lives what she believes," said NRA Women's Programs Coordinator Diane Danielson. "As a strong and fervent advocate for gun rights, Nikki has demonstrated her dedication through her actions."

Dedicated enough to not stop at Tennessee. Thanks to her efforts, a similar bill was passed in the state of Ohio and Nikki was there to see it all happen.

Today she continues her work to help protect the Second Amendment. As a legislative aide in the Tennessee statehouse, she has been able to do just that on a number of occasions. But she hasn't stopped there. She's appeared on international television and made appearances on radio, national television and NRA News.

Since Ben's death, Nikki has made tremendous efforts to educate people on the importance of the Second Amendment. A modern heroine, Nikki has never lost sight of her mission. She says, "The founders of our great country saw that people who wish to do us harm would not be so successful if we as a citizenry were armed. It is a right to self-defense, not a privilege."

Founded in 1995, the award is named for Sybil Ludington, a heroine of the American Revolution who made a night ride to alert colonial forces in the same way as Paul Revere. On the night of April 26, 1777, Sybil was putting her younger siblings to bed when her family received word that the British had begun burning Danbury, Connecticut, a town only 25 miles away. Her father was a colonel in the local militia at the time and his men were spread out over a large area around the Ludington house. Sybil persuaded her father to let her ride out and alert his men so they could attempt to drive the British back. Riding alone, she covered over 40 miles on dark, unmarked roads, warning militiamen of the approaching threat while avoiding British soldiers and loyalists in the area. The men she helped gather were able to assemble just in time to help drive the British force back to their ships in the Long Island Sound and save many American lives. 

To learn more about the Women’s Awards and other programs for women offered by the NRA, visit or call 1-800-816-1166.

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