Across the Nation: First responder appreciation, a massive food distribution and more quick takes
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Two firefighters who were members of Churches of Christ have lost their lives trying to protect others.
Diana Jones, 63, served with the Cresson Volunteer Fire Department in Texas. Sgt. Sivad Johnson, 49, was a Detroit firefighter.
Jones, a member of the Granbury Church of Christ in Texas, died as a result of injuries suffered in California. She had traveled to the West Coast to battle what are known as the August Complex fires in the Mendocino National Forest area.
On Aug. 31, Jones was repositioning a fire engine when it backed over an embankment and into a fire, according to the U.S. Fire Administration.
“She was a true servant,” said John Knox, minister for the Granbury church and a chaplain for first responders. “Some people talk about serving, but she actually did it.”
Jones was known for her servant heart.
She first came to the church for a meal it offers every Tuesday for first responders. She quickly began volunteering to serve at the meal instead of being served.
She started working as an EMT and volunteer firefighter at the age of 58.
Jones’ son, Capt. Ian Shelly, was also working the fires in California. He was not injured.
The Detroit firefighter, Johnson, was a member of the Wyoming Avenue Church of Christ in Michigan’s largest city. On Aug. 21, he was at the Belle Isle Beach along the Detroit River with his daughter when he jumped in to help save three children.
Johnson was able to help the struggling swimmers to shore, but he disappeared in the water.
His body was recovered the next day.
Detroit City Council President Brenda Jones, who also attends the Wyoming Avenue church, said on social media, “He gave his life to save a child and is a true American hero.”
Johnson received the Medal of Valor in 2017 for saving another life while risking his own safety.
The Detroit Public Safety Foundation said, “We again stand in awe of his service, as he made the ultimate sacrifice in an attempt to save another person’s life.”
Funeral services for Jones will be Saturday, Sept. 19, at the Granbury church.
Services for Johnson were conducted Aug. 31.
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