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Shanyn Godward

Fire/Paramedic 2021

Shanyn has worked for Richmond Hill Fire and Emergency Services (R.H.F.E.S.) since 2008 and moved into her role as Public Educator in 2011. Her focus is on education and ensuring the community she serves has the tools and knowledge to keep themselves and their families safe.

Shanyn is the Chair of the Fire and Life Safety Educators of York Region, secretary-treasurer of the Ontario Association of Fire Educators, Adjunct Instructor with the Ontario Fire College, and past Co-Chair of B.A.S.S.I.C. (Bringing an Awareness of Senior Safety Issues to the Community). In addition, her current volunteer experience revolves around the various committees she sits on within the fire service such as OAFC – Fire Prevention and Public Education Advisory Committee and OAFC/OFC – NFPA 1035 III Program Working Group.

She says, with a bit of humour and self-awareness, she often has trouble saying no. It has always been important to her to help where she can. Shanyn wants folks to know that they matter, that they are important, and her actions reflect this, whether it is bringing treats into the office, holding the door for someone, giving a smile, or simply doing what she can to make a situation easier.

Shanyn recalls a truly memorable moment of giving back at an Annual Awards Night that provides R.H.F.E.S. with an opportunity to acknowledge their staff for years of service, promotions, retirements, and achievements. It’s also where they formally thank the community for their support—good Samaritans, community partners, media partners, educators—and all those who take an active role in promoting fire safety. Of these special memories, the one that really tugs at her heart was when two teenage boys were being recognized for saving the life of an older man. They heard a smoke alarm in a home, knocked on the door, and were able to get him out safely. There is an extremely high chance that without their actions that the gentleman would not have survived the fire. Not only was R.H.F.E.S. able to celebrate the boys, but they were also able to bring the man and his family to the event. Wow!

Giving back has countless rewards; one of the most unexpected for Shanyn is the recognition for just doing what comes naturally to her. That said, 2020 has been a more challenging year for so many. With a bit of hindsight, Shanyn admits that putting her own self-care as a priority didn’t really happen at the beginning. She was fully immersed in R.H.F.E.S.’s COVID response. Eventually, what helped her find some balance and fill her up personally were window visits with her grandmother, delivering care packages, and having phone calls with family and friends to keep in touch.


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