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Shaun Mitchell

2023 Fire Services Honouree

Shaun Mitchell is a senior firefighter in Central York Fire Services (CYFS). He is a Hazmat Captain, whose job it is to respond to emergencies involving unplanned, uncontrolled, or accidental release of hazardous substances. Covering approximately 146,000 people in an area of about 90 square kilometres, every day, Shaun and his team come to the aid of York Region residents, often in life-altering situations. Shaun is a dedicated family man, with a wife and two children. In addition to his full-time heroic work and the priority of his family, Shaun has a passion for giving back.

Shaun chooses to devote his life and career to giving back. He uses his celebrity as a firefighter to enhance charity projects, such as participating in galas and fundraisers for such notable organizations as women’s shelters, food banks, local charities, and community events. One of the biggest projects Shaun organized was the Firefighter Calendar. The first year the calendar was published featured individuals who won a spot for a month in the calendar. Shaun quickly realized that a lot of his co-workers were also charity-minded, and in the second year, he included group photos of firefighters who also believed in giving back. It was important to him that the mindset of giving was recognized in the organization.

At CYFS, firefighters have opportunities to participate in areas of interest to them. One of the options is the charity committee. Shaun jumped at the chance to participate in an area where lives could be changed, not just by the physical efforts of responding to emergency calls, but by supporting others in ways that served them in their day-to-day lives. Shaun is not in it for the recognition. He works with people who are like-minded and have the same goal – to fulfill a need, open doors for people to opportunities, and change lives.

When the pandemic hit, the need for support was greater than ever. Shaun and his team at CYFS never paused, they never gave up on their fundraising, and they kept moving forward. Knowing in-person events to raise funds couldn’t happen for an unknown period of time, the charity committee pulled from a reserved “nest-egg” of donations to continue supporting charities in need. Hunger and safety don’t pause when situations arises. Needs still have to be fulfilled.

The rewards for Shaun are numerous. He is confident that the benefits of the work he puts in now will extend long past the time when he retires from the force. He has mentored a group of good people who will carry on the mission of serving others. When asked where his energy for serving others comes from, Shaun is fond of saying, “I’ll sleep when I’m dead.” For him, the need of working to help others far exceeds his own comfort. Thank you, Shaun, for your dedication and your service.


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