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Many pay tribute to fallen firefighter who drowned while saving the lives of 3 girls

Posted at 9:15 PM, Aug 31, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-31 21:15:37-04
(WXYZ) —

A son, brother, father, friend, and a Detroit firefighter. Sgt. Sivad Johnson gave his life to help save three girls from drowning in the Detroit River. On Monday, the city, as well as fire departments across the state, paid tribute to the fallen first responder and motivational speaker and storyteller.

Brave, full of hope and faith – the life and death of this 26-year veteran of the Detroit Fire Department challenged us all to love more and to love better.

Family, friends and dignitaries socially distanced while fire stations across the city, like Engine 9 and Engine 32, placed rigs outside with flashing lights as they watched the livestream joining stations across the country and even across the border tweeting with the hashtag: SivadStrong. They participated virtually in the celebration of his life and legacy.

Ten days ago, Sgt. Johnson was at Belle Isle enjoying a day off with his 10-year-old daughter when three young girls in the Detroit River called for help.

"He knew his service was needed and he didn’t have to punch the clock to give it," said Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist.

The girls returned to shore safely, but Sgt. Johnson did not.

Monday at the memorial, the fire department revealed a brand new search and rescue boat with the latest technology, and newly named after Sgt. Sivad Johnson.