A year has passed since Sergeant Sivad Johnson, 46, lost his life in an attempt to save three girls from drowning, and we still remember and honor his heroic act.
It was late August of 2020 when this off-duty firefighter was taking a trip to Belle Isle with his 10-year-old daughter. At one moment, they noticed three girls struggling to stay afloat and signaling for help. Johnson and another man jumped into Detroit River and managed to rescue one of the girls. The other two were saved by a nearby boat.
Crowd gathered around the girls to make sure they were okay, but then, Johnson’s daughter noticed her father wasn’t there. In all the chaos, he went missing.
Sgt. Sivad Johnson, 49, a 26-year veteran of the Detroit Fire Department, died while trying to rescue 3 young girls from drowning. They were later safely brought ashore. https://t.co/LGF47ENOAq
— The New York Times (@nytimes) August 23, 2020
A search was initiated right away. Many people were involved in searching for Johnson, and that included officers, firefighters, and divers. Everyone was praying for a positive outcome. Unfortunately, Michigan state police later confirmed that Johnson drowned.
As reported by The New York Times, Johnson was part of the Detroit Fire Department for over 26 years.
He was a family man loved by many. “His friends, his colleagues, the people who worked for him said he was a mentor, he was a teacher. Many said he made their careers,” Deputy fire commissioner Dave Fornell said.
A huge number of firefighters gathered to salute their brave co-worker as his body was brought to Detroit Receiving Hospital.
“I would say there was not a dry eye in the house,” he said. “I’ve never seen as many firefighters as emotional as this. He was almost bigger than life. He just moved a lot of people.”
HERO! Our thoughts and prayers are with the family, friends and colleagues of @DetroitFire Sgt Sivad Johnson who, while off-duty, drowned saving three young girls. “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” – John 15:13 – RIP Sir pic.twitter.com/oTplWGCU1v
— Toledo Fire & Rescue (@ToledoFire) August 23, 2020
One of Johnson’s friends started a GoFundMe page to help the family during the time of grief. The void Johnson left in everyone’s heart is huge and the pain is immense, and their only consolation is that he died a hero. May he rest in peace!