Hero plaque honors fallen deputy sheriff

VIVIANA PERNOT / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Roses are left by family members at the new Hero Plaque honoring Deputy Sheriff Roy J. Fortson Jr., killed in the line of duty in 1982.
VIVIANA PERNOT / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Roses are left by family members at the new Hero Plaque honoring Deputy Sheriff Roy J. Fortson Jr., killed in the line of duty in 1982.
Posted: May 30, 2014

ON NOV. 13, 1982, Deputy Sheriff Roy J. Fortson Jr. was killed while engaging with two gunmen who were attempting to rob the Majestic Bar on the 400 block of North 36th Street. He was the first deputy sheriff in the city to die in the line of duty.

Yesterday morning, members of the Philadelphia Police Department, friends and family gathered to watch as a Hero Plaque was dedicated in Fortson's honor outside the Criminal Justice Center on Filbert Street near 13th in Center City.

"To be able to be a part of these events is really just so rewarding to me," said attorney James J. Binns, founder of the Hero Plaque Program.

The plaque dedication was the 266th to take place since 2001 when Binns began the program, which honors members of the Philadelphia Police and Fire departments who have died while serving the city.

Philadelphia Sheriff Jewell Williams, John McNesby, president of FOP Lodge No. 5, and Fortson's widow, Edna, spoke at the dedication.

"My heart is overwhelmed," Edna Fortson said choking back tears. "I feel the love that you're showing my husband."

Taps rang out over the emotional crowd as Fortson's family members placed roses on the plaque.

"When they said they were gonna do a tribute to my brother, I was just thinking maybe you come and talk a little bit, but I had no idea all these people would be here," Fortson's sister, Mae Onia Newton, said with a smile. "Everybody was just so nice from the time we left our home to the time we got down here."

comments powered by Disqus
|
|
|
|
|