Hero's memory lives

NY Daily News - December 18, 2004

by LISA FLEISHER

Since the tragic death of Firefighter Thomas Brick a year ago, many touching gestures have been made to help his family.

Last winter Brick's parents woke up to find their driveway cleared of snow, with no trace of the firefighters who did it.

The Bravest also delivered Christmas presents to Brick's children, Madeline and Aden, and called his parents on their birthdays.

"This is what members of family do for each other," said Brick's sister, Megan Assimacopoulos.

Yesterday brought another gesture.

City officials installed a plaque in his honor at Ladder Co. 36 in Inwood in upper Manhattan, where Brick worked.

Brick was the first member of the Bravest to die in a fire since the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks. He was killed fighting a four-alarm fire in a mattress warehouse last December.

At yesterday's dedication, Brick, 30, was recalled in speeches by family, friends, Mayor Bloomberg and Fire Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta.

"We can't do what we would really like to do, which is to bring Tommy back," Bloomberg told the gathering.

"What we can do is recognize what he did, what he stood for, and put up a plaque so that when young men and woman walk by and see his name and some of his friends tell them what he did, they will say, 'I want to be like him. I want to go and dedicate my life to helping others.'"

Friends said Brick had always wanted to be a firefighter. He'd been with FDNY for just two years before he perished.

On the anniversary of his death Thursday, Brick's family planted a Christmas tree outside his childhood home in Flushing, Queens, said his mother, Margaret. They'll leave the lights up all year in honor of him.

"He was Mr. Christmas to us," she said. "It's hard to be there for Christmas without Tommy. It's hard to learn how to live without him.

"But we're very grateful for many things. We're proud of him."