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Draper Journal

City Hall Tree Honors A Dream And A Life

Dec 12, 2014 10:52AM ● By Mimi Darley

A tree honoring the late Sgt. Derek Johnson is on display once again at City Hall.

Blue and red lights flash atop a 10-foot tree in the lobby of City Hall that honors the late Sgt. Derek Johnson who was killed in the line of duty Sept. 1, 2013 in Draper. 

Last year, the Johnson family entered the decorated tree in the 2013 Festival of Trees, a fundraiser for Primary Children’s Hospital. The tree was purchased by an anonymous donor who donated it back to the family.  The family, in turn, donated it to the Draper City Police Department. 

The tree and its decorations were designed by Johnson’s family based on an essay he wrote in elementary school titled, “When I Grow Up.” 

Johnson lived his dream of becoming a policeman, and his family worked many hours to lovingly plan and design the tree’s ornaments and decorations. 

“We are honored to continue to display the Sgt. Derek Johnson memorial tree. It is a fitting tribute to a young man who devoted his life to public service and to all law enforcement officers across the country who serve and protect our communities,” Chief Bryan Roberts said.

Last year, Roberts invited other police agencies from across the U.S. to mail their department’s challenge coins and shoulder patches with their department emblems to help adorn the tree as well.  

Challenge coins are unique to each agency with their motto and are often carried by officers as a reminder of their camaraderie and their mission. More than 150 police agencies responded to that request. The badges and challenge coins collected are part of the display.

Beginning next year, once the new Draper Police Department wing of City Hall is built, the tree will be displayed in the police department’s lobby.