Wife of fallen Draper officer honored at governor's gala

Published: Friday, Sept. 20 2013 9:20 p.m. MDT

Guests at Gov. Gary Herbert's annual fundraising gala took time Friday to honor the widow of Draper Police Sgt. Derek Johnson.

Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — Guests at Gov. Gary Herbert's annual fundraising gala took time Friday to honor the widow of Draper Police Sgt. Derek Johnson and outgoing Lt. Gov. Greg Bell.

Shante Johnson, the wife of the Draper officer who was shot and killed as he was finishing up his shift earlier this month, stood with members of the 1033 Foundation as the organization received a $15,000 donation from Herbert and a standing ovation from guests at the event.

The 1033 Foundation supports the families of Utah officers killed in the line of duty, placing a special focus on being with an officer's family within hours of his or her death.

"On the morning of Sept. 1, when we got the horrible news and there was so much to process, (we) get this phone call from someone who wanted to come immediately and help," Shante Johnson said. "Our family thanks (the 1033 foundation), and I want to thank the community and every one of you who have helped us to get through this … We are going to be OK, and we will live on and carry on Derek's legacy of happiness."

Shante Johnson said she hopes the community has come to know her husband, who she described as a happy man who loved life and service.

The presentation Monday included a video tribute to Bell, who announced his retirement this week citing financial obligations and the need to plan for retirement.

"We've had a great run," Bell said, thanking Herbert and those he served with. "It's public service — you step forward and do your turn, and then you'll know when to turn back."

Herbert thanked Bell with a big hug on stage, and told the crowd that Bell, supported by his wife, has served with enthusiasm, integrity and humility.

The evening event at the Salt Palace Convention Center had raised $675,000 as of Wednesday, said Liv Moffat, Herbert's campaign finance adviser. Ticket prices started at $500, and sponsorships were priced from $5,000 to $25,000.

Comedian Jeff Foxworthy, known for his redneck jokes, headlined the event, which was decorated in a rustic, outdoors theme complete with a stuffed mountain goat and elk head at the door.

Email: mromero@deseretnews.com

Twitter: McKenzieRomero

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