Mural outside Detroit fire station remembers Detroiters who died of COVID-19

Posted at 6:52 PM, May 30, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-31 18:06:47-04

DETROIT (WXYZ) — Capt. Franklin Williams is now looking down upon the fire station where he worked for years, dedicating his life to the service of others. Last March, he gave the ultimate sacrifice in the battle against COVID-19.

"This mural will stand as a permanent reminder of a man who stayed on the front lines to fight an invisible enemy,” said Detroit Fire Commissioner Eric Jones.

In the early days of the pandemic, Captain Williams was one of the first Detroiters to lose their life to the virus. He worked his last shift on March 22, 2020.

“March 24, 2020 he got up at 3 O'clock in the morning and said to me 'I feel like I'm coming down with something, I'm gonna go to the guest room,'" recalled Williams' wife Shanita Williams. "That something was COVID-19, and two weeks later he was gone.”

His family came out to the station on Sunday, getting their first look at the new mural, now a permanent reminder of how much their hero was loved.

“This is overwhelming, it’s beautiful," Williams said. "The perfect way to remember somebody.”

The mural also depicts other Detroiters like bus driver Jason Hargrove, who died in April 2020 after pleading with passengers on Facebook, to take the virus seriously. It also shows 5-year-old Skylar Herbert, who died of COVID complications.

“My baby always shined, so i know that whenever we have something to do to honor her she is always here because the sun is always shining,” Skylar's mother said.

The mural also remembers Detroit Police Captain Jonathan Parnell.

All together, they make up this mural created to remember all of those who lost their lives to COVID-19.

“It means he wont be forgotten and that’s all I can ask for,” Williams said.

The artist said it took about a month to create this mural and it should last for at least 25 years.