Shepherd; one who offers guidance or leadership.
We get that word from Her, you know.
The Shepard, the one who vanquished the Reapers, who drove the Andromedans back to their own galaxy, who served as a bridge between the races of the Milky Way, and the Time Lords of old. Shepard is almost universally recognized as a hero, a herculean type figure of epic stature, but she didn't start out that way, oh no.
Shepard was born in- well, nobody really knows when she was born, except for her father, but in the interest of time, let's just say she was born in 2158, and leave it at that.
Shepard was raised by Captain Hannah Shepard of the Alliance Navy, moving from ship to ship, never staying for too long. Shepard finally enlisted with the Alliance Navy at the age of eighteen, as part of a desire to, in her own words, "Make mommy proud."
I think she succeeded in that department, don't you?
Shepard had a... difficult career, to say the least. Elysium, the colony she had been stationed on, was attacked by a gang of ruthless pirates and slavers from the Terminus Systems. Shepard succeeded in defending the colony... at the expense of over half her squad. But the incident proved her worth to the Alliance, and she was bumped up to the advanced training course.
The N7 Program, as it's also known.
Shepard nearly flunked out of the training several times, not an uncommon occurrence, given the difficulty of the program, but what did make it uncommon, was Shepard's tenacity.
"She never gives up. Ever." was the phrase I believe one of her instructors used.
She eventually completed the program, and went on to perform several classified missions, most of which have become declassified. But even today, almost three-thousand years later, her mission to stop the Collectors, and her exploits to stop the Reaper invasion have been lost to time. Meaning that most of Shepard's exploits are shrouded in myth, misinformation, and outright lies.
Hopefully, this can clear that up.
I've recently grown... involved with someone who was on Shepard's crew during her mission to stop the Collectors, and later, the Reapers.
This is the most complete and accurate account of Shepard's journey that you will find anywhere. Period.
Everyone has a different outlook on Shepard, and this doesn't line up with all of them But, nevertheless, I urge you to read on.
What you'll find, may surprise you.
-Foreword to A Completely Accurate Account of The Shepard, by Professor River Song.