Chicago City Council honors fallen firefighter, CFD Captain Herbie Johnson

December 11, 2012 10:00:00 PM PST
The City of Chicago honored a fallen firefighter who died in the line of duty last month. Herbie Johnson's family and comrades filed into City Hall Wednesday morning to honor his memory in an emotional tribute.

Johnson died battling a fire in the Gage Park community last month.

The 54-year-old captain was a Chicago firefighter for 32 years. His family members call the proclamation a great honor.

It took a bus to transport Johnson's big family downtown. It was over a month ago when the Chicago fire captain died as he saved others from a burning building.

"To me, he was just my dad," said daughter Laurie Johnson. "He was my hero, of course, but it is amazing how many other people were touched."

Laurie Johnson had no idea how many people her dad touched until the outpouring at his funeral and Wednesday at City Hall, where a special resolution was passed in Johnson's honor.

"For many years, Herbie entertained all of us with his quick wit and his unique sense of humor," said 19th Ward Alderman Matt O'Shea. "He will always be remembered fondly as a loving husband and father."

At the end of the ceremony, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel presented Johnson's family with a plaque.

"This resolution is a minor token," said Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. "Hold on to your memories, hold on to your laughs."

Laughs and memories like Laurie Johnson's high school prom.

"For my prom, he was out of town," said Laurie Johnson. "He flew home for three hours just to take pictures with me."

Johnson was the oldest of eight kids.

Working for the city is part of the Johnson family history. Thirteen and 15 years apart, Johnson's two youngest brothers will never forget Johnson letting them ride with him in the fire truck when they were younger.

"My brother was a fun guy at the firehouse-- until that bell goes off, seriousness kicked in," said brother Ted Johnson.

"He was a second father to me when my dad wasn't there," said brother Terry Johnson. "We hung out. He was my best friend."

A hockey game is scheduled for Thursday night to raise money for the 54-year-old firefighter's family (note new location):

  • St. Rita vs. St. Ignatius
  • Oak Lawn Ice Arena
  • 9320 Kenton, Oak Lawn
  • Thursday, Dec. 13, 2012, 7:00 p.m. doors, 7:50 p.m. puck drop

Johnson's family is planning to attend the event. All proceeds will go to the 100 Club of Chicago. The organization provides support for fallen firefighters and police officers.


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