Jim Godfrey has always loved animals of all kinds. He sees the need to give his time because animals can use a helping hand with problems caused by no fault of their own. “Strays and homeless pets are our fault. I like to help in any way I can.”
Godfrey has been Santa to the animals staying at the Danville Area Humane Society for over ten years. Last summer, he dusted off the beard to bring a summer Santa to hus furry friends. He spends his free time helping to transport dogs to other shelters that have openings offering a better chance at adoption.
Showcase sat down with this year’s recipient of our annual Community Strong Award to find out why making the communality better is dear to Godfrey’s heart.
Showcase Magazine: Can you tell us a little about yourself?
Jim Godfrey: I moved to Danville from Pennsylvania in 2006. My mother is originally from the area. Danville City Police Officer from June 2006 to August 2023. Pittsylvania Co. Sheriff’s Deputy from August 2023 to present. I am the School Resource Officer at Chatham Elementary School. I have a great love of animals and the Danville Area Humane Society. All three of my cats have come from the shelter. I enjoy helping people.
SM: How do you define community involvement?
JG: Community Involvement to me is helping in whatever way you can. When I worked with DPD I worked the North Main Street area. There I could have a direct impact on the community of that area with its problems. As an SRO, I get to be a positive role model for the children of the community.
SM: What inspires you to get involved in the community?
JG: I’m inspired to be involved in the community just to see things get better for those who need it. It bothers me seeing people who need and want resources not being able to get them.
SM: How do you balance life, work, and community involvement?
JG: My entire job is community involvement. As a police officer it was rare to see a “win” but as an SRO it is almost all wins. Being in law enforcement, it is a struggle to find a balance between work and regular life. You are almost always “on the job.” It’s good to have a support system at home and with friends.
SM: How do you recharge. What do you like to do outside of work and volunteerism?
JG: I recharge by reading and spending time with my girlfriend and cats.
SM: What is your idea of happiness?
JG: Happiness to me is being content in who you are.
SM: What is the best piece of advice anyone has ever given you?
JG: That sometimes doing the right thing is the hardest thing.
SM: Do you have a favorite quote, and if so, what is it?
JG: My favorite quote is “We accept the love we think we deserve.” by Stephen Chbosky from the book The Perks of Being a Wallflower. As a Police Officer I constantly saw people accepting less than they deserved. People need to know that they deserve more. Also “There are no secrets, only facts that haven’t come out yet.” from Doug Gottlieb
SM: Who are your real-life heroes and why?
JG: My mother, Veda Godfrey, is a hero of mine. She made it from an impoverished childhood to being an RN, and a person who always finds time to help others. Also, Paulette Dean, she devotes her life to helping animals.
SM: What is it about Danville that makes it special to you?
JG: Danville is special to me because I have a long history with it. As a child we would come for 2 weeks a year to visit my mother’s family. I remember when it was a successful textile town, and it is nice to see it becoming a vibrant area again. It is where I started my law enforcement career, and I have a great number of friends here.
SM: What are your favorite things to do in Danville?
JG: My girlfriend and I really enjoy supporting small businesses in Danville. If we can buy it here, we will. I enjoy helping out the DAHS whenever I can.
SM: What are your visions for the future of Danville?
JG: My vision for Danville would be for it to be a safe and successful place to work and enjoy life.
SM: What are you most looking forward to in 2024?
JG: For 2024, I’m looking forward to having a full year as an SRO. I’ve only been doing it for a short time so far and enjoy it very, very much.