Mother’s Day: Janita Henwood’s story

Surf Life Saving Queensland wishes a Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers in our community.

Here is Janita Henwood, from Miami’s story on her family’s connection to lifesaving.

In 2002 Janita Henwood and her late husband Rod took their eldest son Zachary down to Nippers at Miami Beach.

This decision would turn into a lifelong passion for the Henwood family – the beach, club and surf lifesaving. It was a passion they could all share together.

Henwood’s five children, Zachary (25), Harrison (22), Isaac (23), Kahli (20) and Oliver (19) started in Nippers and continued through the entire surf lifesaving program. Her eldest son Zachary is now president of the Miami Surf Life Saving club.

“We were quite involved with the club from the very beginning,” Henwood told Surf Life Saving Queensland.

“It’s like a second family, a second home to us.”

The Henwoods patrolled, officiated, ran water safety programs and acted as Chair for junior activity while their children rose through the ranks at Miami SLSC.

Janita 1

One weekend Zachary was asked to join an IRB team. Janita came down to the beach with him to drop him off before she was encouraged to give it a go herself.

“They said, ‘well you’re here, so you may as well just hop in and start racing,’” she said.

“That’s where it all began.”

Henwood now races in IRBs at professional events with her children.

Having been sporty her whole life, Henwood is so grateful to be able to share this experience with her children.

“Being actively involved with them, I wouldn’t change it for the world,” she said.

“My kids are my life. It’s so precious. Life is so precious.”

This Mother’s Day will be celebrated in typical fashion – being together and getting down to the beach.

Sadly Rod, Janita’s husband, passed away in 2017 and this will be the second Mother’s Day without him.

“He’s still alive in our hearts,” she said.

“We always say

‘Our seven footprints walk as one,

Our seven hearts beat as one,

Always together, never apart;

Forever alive in our hearts.’”

Article by Josie Fielding

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