FSWO announces 2020 winner of the Pink Helmet of Courage Award, Lieutenant Jenn Dawkins

This year’s deserving recipient of the Pink Helmet of Courage Award is being given to a recipient whose courage, openness and strength has been an inspiration to many others in her battle this past year with cancer at the same time as dealing with COVID. FSWO is proud to recognize Lieutenant Jenn Dawkins who has been with Vancouver’s Fire Service since 1999.

Lieutenant Dawkins’s passion and commitment to her recovery has been undertaken with the same enthusiasm and zest that she demonstrates every day in her work environment and as a popular and highly respected advocate for the promotion and advancement of women in the first responder field. Ms Dawkins was the founder of Camp Ignite in British Columbia which began in 2011 and brings together young women to live the experience of the fire service as a family. She has authored articles, speaks publicly and has organized panels encouraging women to go after their dreams and not be afraid to reach their potential. She is a big supporter of gender diversity and the fire service as a whole advocating for both women and men to be better in their profession. She supports her greater community and is known to rescue an animal or two including Emma, her German shepherd.

Officer Dawkins recently underwent a mastectomy and chemotherapy for invasive ductal carcinoma and recognized the importance and need to use her strength, resilience and experience to educate herself and others about her diagnosis and the challenges she faced. She feels strongly about being a cancer crusader and has proactively spoken out about her experience for the benefit of all women. She has taken part in fund raising efforts for the BC Cancer Society and many other charities and events and is part of the Tri-Cities Soroptomist Society. She also lobbied British Columbia’s provincial government for the inclusion of breast cancer as a presumptive cancer.

Despite her diagnosis and need to undergo extensive medical treatment this past year, Lieutenant Dawkins was still able to run a one-day COVID-safe Camp Ignite this summer which gave 28 young women the opportunity to try firefighting skills and activities. She is tireless in her efforts to attract women to the profession and provide support to those who are in it. As this year’s successful recipient of the Pink Helmet of Courage Award, Officer Dawkins is a remarkable woman who embodies resiliency and courage while demonstrating the importance and benefits of taking care of yourself.

This award recognizes an individual who demonstrates courage in facing hardship and adversity. In showing strength against adversity, this individual also embodies the mandate of FSWO by “Educating, Encouraging and Empowering” women in the fire service. This award is sponsored by Starfield Lion.

Nominators: Mary Foster, Lydia Wilcox, Haida Fortier