South Haven's first female firefighter retires

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Posted at 8:09 AM, Jan 10, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-10 16:07:51-05

SOUTH HAVEN, Mich. — South Haven's first female firefighter, Dawn Hinz, retired after 21 years of serving the community.

Hinz started her career in Covert Township before moving to the South Haven Area Emergency Services (SHAES) in 2009.

"In the not too distant past, women weren't considered to be strong and tough enough for a career position in this type of job," reminds SHAES Executive Director (and Hinz's husband) Brandon Hinz. "Dawn came to SHAES and showed them all wrong."

Dawn grew up believing that girls can do anything boys can do. Her favorite memory from elementary school gym class is reaching the ceiling on the climbing rope. A feat only completed by a handful of boys

Hinz graduated Valedictorian, routinely competed in triathlons (eventually becoming a USAT certified triathlon coach), smashed multiple Firefighter Combat Challenges— often ending up the only woman to complete it— and trained firefighters through various agility tests.

While at SHAES, she was responsible for supervising the summer beech safety interns, studied physiology, and coached a local kid's swim club, instilling safety and fitness knowledge for the people of South Haven from a young age.

Keeping up with her passion for physical fitness, Hinz will continue her affiliation with Athletic Mentors of Kalamazoo, helping people live healthy no matter their physical ability.