Self-Defense Advocate Teaches Empowerment
Julie Godfrey, a resident in The Canyons neighborhood, discovered a whole new side of herself in her mid-50s. After celebrating her 32nd wedding anniversary with her husband, Brett, and raising their two daughters, Godfrey is now an instructor at the Centennial Gun Club (CGC) and has started her own business as a pistol instructor, specifically for women.
When their daughters were attending Arapahoe High School in 2013, a horrific experience shook Godfrey’s perspective about self-defense. Godfrey described the terrifying time of racing to the school knowing there was a shooter in the building, communicating with one daughter but not hearing back from the other at first. “I felt so helpless,” Godfrey said. “I didn’t know what to do.” Thankfully, the family was reunited.
That experience led Godfrey to ask her husband to teach her how to shoot. Godfrey had not had any pistol instruction prior, but her husband had, and she felt he was better equipped to protect. Godfrey’s training started soon after. “I remember going to the range at first in tears of frustration,” Godfrey admitted. In time, her progression skyrocketed and her skills kept advancing as she worked with multiple instructors.
Godfrey realized she had a competitive streak in her she didn’t know existed. She went from learning the fundamentals of safety to working on accuracy and speed. With a smile, Godfrey said, “Then it got more fun as I got better. I started beating my husband and the other guys.”
Godfrey and her husband have gone to classes at Gunsite Academy in Arizona for additional training a number of times as shooting is something they enjoy doing together. Last October, Godfrey earned an expert rating which only five women have earned in 40 years. From her experience of often being the only woman in training classes, Godfrey was inspired to teach other women how to be empowered and confident with a firearm.
Safety is a priority for Godfrey, and she is an advocate of awareness, prevention and education. With her calm demeanor, Godfrey teaches at Ladies Nights at the CGC, and women-only classes as a chapter instructor for the Armed Women of America. Godfrey taught firearm handling and safety to a woman in her late-70s and to two teenage girls who came to a class. Godfrey described both lessons as very fulfilling. “It took a tragedy for the lightbulb to go off [in me] that I don’t like that helpless feeling, especially as a mother,” Godfrey shared.
By Lisa Nicklanovich; photos courtesy of Julie Godfrey