Governor Gretchen Whitmer has ordered U.S. and Michigan flags within the State Capitol Complex and upon all public buildings and grounds across the state of Michigan to be lowered to half-staff on Saturday, August 29, 2020, to honor the life and service of Detroit Fire Department Sergeant Sivad Johnson, who passed away trying to save three young girls from drowning in the Detroit River at Belle Isle last week. The flag honors will coincide with his funeral.
“Sergeant Sivad Johnson’s passing is a devastating loss for the Detroit Fire Department, the City of Detroit, and the entire state of Michigan,” said Governor Whitmer. “Sgt. Sivad Johnson was an idol to everyone who had the pleasure to meet him and a hero in every aspect of this life. My thoughts and condolences are with his family as they lay him to rest.”
Sergeant Sivad Johnson was a second-generation fire fighter in the Detroit Fire Department, who served for 26 years. In 2017, he was honored with the Medal of Valor. While off duty, Sivad was known for his artwork, which has appeared in children’s books, at local businesses, and on television. He also designed the current Detroit Fire Department logo.
On Friday, August 21, Sergeant Sivad Johnson passed away at 49 years old while answering the call to protect others when he dove into the Detroit River at Belle Isle to help save the lives of three young girls from drowning. He is survived by his two daughters, brother, and father.
The State of Michigan recognizes the heroic and selfless service of Sergeant Sivad Johnson by lowering flags to half-staff. Michigan residents, businesses, schools, local governments and other organizations are also encouraged to display the flag at half-staff.
To lower flags to half-staff, flags should be hoisted first to the peak for an instant and then lowered to the half-staff position. The process is reversed before the flag is lowered for the day.
Flags should be returned to full-staff on Sunday, August 30, 2020.