Newspaper Name: Calgary Herald
Province: Alberta
Town(s) Served: Calgary
Published: 05/18/2006
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Canadian Hero: Captain Nichola Goddard
Captain Nichola Goddard is a Canadian war hero, whose impact continues to be felt across the country eight years after her death. She was the first female Canadian combat soldier killed in combat, while deployed in Afghanistan. As a member of the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry, she received numerous commendations before her LAV III was hit by two grenades, leading to her death in 2006. Goddard’s actions earlier that day had already secured her a place in the history books. Just hours before her death, she became the first Canadian solider in more than 50 years to execute a fire mission against an enemy combatant. She's played a significant role in breaking gender barriers in the military, provided inspiration to women and soldiers of both genders; and, put a human face on the high price many paid during this war. The impact of her story not only continues through her ultimate sacrifice of giving her life for her country. It continues via an ongoing series of unique tributes and programs: 1.) Her husband became the first widower to receive the Memorial Cross (also known as the Silver Star), which had traditionally been presented to widows and mothers of Canadian soldiers killed in war. 2.) An international development project was started by the University of Calgary’s Light Up the World Foundation and her family to provide 2,000 solar-powered lighting systems to under-developed parts of Papua New Guinea, where she was born. 3.) Her vision of building a better life for Afghanistan’s people continues today through the work of her father, who leads an international teacher training group that is helping to rebuild that country’s education system. 4.) A new Canadian Coast Guard vessel will be named after Goddard later this year. 5.) A myriad of other monuments now carry her name, including a Calgary school, a memorial arch, a scholarship fund, a memorial wall for Scouts, a trig marker at CFB Shilo, a soccer trophy, an artillery cadet award, and a song written for bagpipes.