FOP dedicates plaque to 23-year veteran who died on duty

The plaque on Woodhaven Road honors Thomas Bray, who drowned on duty in 2001 at age 52.

Honoring a hero: The Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 5 dedicated a plaque in memory of officer Thomas Bray, who died in 2001. TOM WARING / TIMES PHOTO

Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 5 last week dedicated a plaque in memory of police officer Thomas Bray, who drowned on Nov. 13, 2001.

That day, the Coast Guard asked the police department’s marine unit to retrieve a sunken channel marker in the Delaware River, near Fort Mifflin in South Philadelphia.

Bray, 52, a 23-year police veteran from Roxborough, radioed that he was tangled. When he did not surface, an officer brought him out of the water. He was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Bray’s funeral Mass took place at the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul. He was survived by his wife and three children.

The Oct. 25 plaque dedication was the 119th by the FOP. The plaque is installed in the ground outside the Philadelphia Police Training Center, 2838 Woodhaven Road.

The ceremony featured the Philadelphia Police and Fire Pipes and Drums. A police bugler played Taps.

Mayor Jim Kenney and Police Commissioner Richard Ross presented Bray’s family with a Philadelphia flag and roses.

FOP president John McNesby, who described Brady as “an all-around great guy,” recalled an opening in the police marine unit in 1997.

“Tom was the perfect fit for it,” he said.

Ross, who knew Bray, addressed his family.

“You should be proud of his service, as we are,” he said.

Genevieve Bray, his widow, said, “We’re very proud,” adding that her husband would have been “very, very impressed” by the ceremony. ••