On Wednesday, nearly 16 years after his death, Philadelphia Police Officer Thomas Bray received a hero's plaque from the Philadelphia Police Department.
"This is all I've been striving for, for the last 16 years. This is something that's just heart wrenching for me because it's something that I'm proud of. And I just feel like my dad's up there smiling down,” said Officer Bray's daughter Jennifer Bray Rivas.
On November 13, 2001, Officer Bray drowned while trying to recover a sunken channel marker in the Delaware River. He was 52-years-old. Since then, his family has been fighting to memorialize the officer, who served in the force for 23 years before his death, with a hero’s plaque, as all Philadelphia Police officers killed in the line of duty typically get.
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Since Officer Bray died in the middle of the Delaware River, it took years for the Philadelphia Police Department to find somewhere else to place his plaque.
“We all just wanted this to be done to make him happy and more importantly to make him proud," Rivas said. "And I know now that he's very proud."