Final memorial held for fallen Mayville soldier Sunday



MAYVILLE -- A final memorial service was held Sunday afternoon for 24-year-old Army First Lieutenant David Johnson of Mayville, who was killed January 25th by an improvised explosive device while serving in Afghanistan.  A visitation was held on Saturday at  Mayville High School for Johnson, and Mayville community members lined the streets on Friday to pay respects to the fallen soldier as his casket arrived in town. During Sunday's final memorial, Johnson's family received his Purple Heart and Bronze Star. There was also a 21-gun salute, and a Blackhawk helicopter flew overhead Sunday.

Johnson graduated from Mayville High School in 2006.  His principal called him a true gentleman who was active on the football team, FFA, and in several other activities.  He says Johnson was known for his faith, friends and strong family values. "I use the word 'gentleman.' That was David. His commitment to his friends, family, faith and service, I think that was a big part of his life," Mayville principal Lee Zarnott said.

Zarnott says it was hard to come to grips with Johnson's death when he first heard about it. "You kind of go through the disbelief.  You try to grasp what has been going on, then, you start turning your thoughts and feelings toward the family," Zarnott said.

Community members say Johnson will always be their hometown hero and will always be in their hearts.

Johnson will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, D.C.



Hundreds of people lined the streets of Mayville Friday morning during a motorcade procession that carried Johnson's body.



The motorcade left a Milwaukee airport, then headed through Horicon before ending in Mayville. Family, friends and even those who didn't know Johnson showed up to pay tribute to their hometown hero. "I'm so proud of all the Mayville residents. Everyone that came out to support David and to show their support of what's happened," Mayville resident Cheri Strook said. "All gave some, some gave all.  God bless those veterans, comrades that died in action. We thank them for their services," Dennis Husli, Commander of American Legion Firing Squad said.

The American Legion Post 69 provided a military gun salute to honor the fallen soldier. "Everyone was reverent and quiet, and you can just feel the pain and the love for this young man as the procession came through," Strook said.

Memorials may be directed to the family, and donations will be made to numerous organizations, including Veteran's Memorial of Mayville, Fisher House in Dover, Bay Lakes Council of Boy Scouts of America, Mayville FFA and Crosswalk Missions at Evangel University.

In a statement, Johnson's family writes: "We are very proud of our son. He is a hero. He first was a man of God. He has been a strong leader at Mayville High School, at Evangel University and to the men in his unit. David had no fear of adversity. He lived life to the fullest. There are no regrets. He is an American hero. We love him very much and miss him very much."

Johnson graduated from Mayville High School in 2006.  His principal called him a true gentleman who was active on the football team, FFA, and in several other activities.  He says Johnson was known for his faith, friends and strong family values. "I use the word 'gentleman.' That was David. His commitment to his friends, family, faith and service, I think that was a big part of his life," Mayville principal Lee Zarnott said.

Evangel University in Springfield, Mo., says Johnson was a 2010 graduate and was in command of the Army's 3rd Brigade Combat Team of the 2nd Infantry Division. He visited the university last November for a special Veterans Day service.