A retired detective and World War II veteran died alone at the age of 95 last month.

William Brown, who had fought in the 369th Infantry Regiment known as the Harlem Hellfighters, was already known by members of the NYPD who had found him living alone in an apartment with no heat.

So they set about getting his heat turned back on, helped him register for VA benefits, and some members of the 113rd precinct even took him to his doctor appointments.

On May 20th, he died of heart issues, and the NYPD discovered that he had no surviving next of kin.

So they did the proper thing – they gave him a hero’s send off.

Via NBC New York:

Hundreds of current and former NYPD officers paid tribute Thursday to a retired detective and World War II veteran who died alone, a day after the department asked that the community unite to give him a hero’s farewell.

William Brown died last month at the age of 95. He had no friends or family by his side, and his body was discovered by police officers from the 113th Precinct who befriended him over the winter, the NYPD said.

But he was not without friends and family on Thursday. First Church of God in Christ in Jamaica was overflowing with people who joined to celebrate Brown’s life; officers in their dress blues packed every pew. Some had to stand.

“Detective Brown embraced life, and he would be touched by the sea of blue here today,” Deputy Inspector Frederick Grover of the 113th Precinct said.

According to reports, after the service concluded, a solitary bagpiper played “Amazing Grace” as the NYPD Honor Guard escorted the World War II veteran’s flag-draped casket from the church.

Police officers and firefighters lined the street and gave Mr. Brown one last salute as his casket was placed in the hearse.


Brown didn’t just remain content as a hero in the military, continuing a legacy of courage and bravery with the department.

Deputy Inspector Frederick Grover reviewed Brown’s history with the department. He received department honors for rescuing a woman and her child from a burning building in 1960, busting a man with a loaded gun in 1962, and arresting a burglar armed with a knife in 1964.

Cross-posted at the Political Insider