Football teams find way to honor fallen Draper police officer
DRAPER — At the same time Sgt. Derek Johnson's friends, family and colleagues were saying goodbye to the slain Draper police officers, two groups of young men were finding a way to honor him.
Corner Canyon senior Weston Minnick never met Sgt. Johnson, but like his teammates, he wanted to show the officer's family that he appreciated the service and sacrifice offered by Johnson, who patrolled the streets where most of these young men live.
"What happened Sunday, it was kind of scary to have it so close in our community," said the linebacker Friday afternoon. "That Tuesday at school we had a moment of silence, but our coaches decided we should try to do more."
The coaches had a sticker with Johnson's initials made, and the team will wear the stickers in his honor for the rest of the season. Not only did both Westlake, the high school located in the neighborhood where Johnson lived, and Corner Canyon, the school in the city where he worked, honor Johnson at Friday's game, but Corner Canyon said it will dedicate the season to him.
"We wanted to do something to honor him as a team," said Minnick. "We all signed a football during school with our names and numbers and I believe our principal delivered it to the family during the viewing Thursday. We just hope (the family) knows we're there for them, as a team and as a community. We're there for any other trials they have, that come up or that they need help with."
While a few players knew Johnson personally, most did not. Still they appreciate his work in their community and Minnick said dedicating both the game and the season to Johnson changes the feelings he has about Friday nights.
"It puts a little more responsibility on us to honor his family, to honor his life," said Minnick.
Both teams participated in a ceremony honoring Johnson Friday night before the game. Johnson was laid to rest Friday afternoon after a funeral service at the Maverick Center in West Valley City.
The 36-year-old Alta High alum was shot and killed in the early morning hours Sunday while stopping at a traffic incident.
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