A tribute to DiDomenico

James J. Binns ad­dresses of­ficer Joseph DiDo­men­ico’s fam­ily and friends, as well as fel­low po­lice of­ficers, dur­ing a plaque ded­ic­a­tion ce­re­mony in Joseph’s hon­our. He was killed in 1953 in a car ac­ci­dent at Point Breeze. (Maria Pouch­nikova)

Joseph J. DiDo­men­ico set the stand­ard in pub­lic ser­vice for his fam­ily.

DiDo­men­ico, a Phil­adelphia po­lice of­ficer who died in the line of duty in 1953, had two sons who be­came fire­men. Two grand­sons are Phil­adelphia po­lice of­ficers, one is a city fire­man and an­oth­er is a former vo­lun­teer fire­man in the sub­urbs.

Re­cently, those pub­lic ser­vants and many oth­er mem­bers of the DiDo­men­ico fam­ily — many of whom live in the North­east — gathered at 19th and Dickin­son streets in the Point Breeze sec­tion of South Phil­adelphia for the un­veil­ing of a plaque in memory of Joseph J. DiDo­men­ico.

DiDo­men­ico, who lived near 16th and McK­ean streets in South Phil­adelphia, joined the po­lice de­part­ment in Au­gust 1944 and worked his en­tire nine-year ca­reer in his neigh­bor­hood. He worked in the 41st Dis­trict at 24th and Wolf streets be­fore mov­ing to the 17th dis­trict near 20th and Fed­er­al streets in 1952.

At about 11 p.m. on Oct. 30, 1953, a Fri­day, he and part­ner Americo Dona­telli were trans­port­ing a stabbing vic­tim to the hos­pit­al in patrol wag­on 171 when it col­lided with an En­gine 24 fire truck at 19th and Dickin­son.

DiDo­men­ico was killed. Dona­telli suffered in­jur­ies that ended his ca­reer.

At the time of his death, DiDo­men­ico was 38. He was sur­vived by his wife, Mar­garet. The two met while he was tak­ing cit­izens to the old St. Ag­nes Hos­pit­al and she was a nurs­ing stu­dent.

The couple had three chil­dren: Joseph Richard, Thomas and Cathy­ann. Joseph Richard and Cathy­ann at­ten­ded last week’s ce­re­mony. Thomas is de­ceased.

Patrick DiDo­men­ico, who works in the po­lice de­part­ment’s crim­in­al in­tel­li­gence unit, ini­ti­ated the pro­cess to hon­or his grand­fath­er with a plaque. An­oth­er grand­son, Mi­chael, is a cor­por­al in po­lice ra­dio. A grand­son Jeff is a fire­man with En­gine 45. A grand­son T.J. was a vo­lun­teer fire­man in Spring­field, Delaware County.

The guest list in­cluded Po­lice Com­mis­sion­er Charles Ram­sey, Fire Com­mis­sion­er Lloyd Ay­ers, City Coun­cil­man Kenyatta John­son and mem­bers of the Itali­an Na­tion­al Po­lice Ser­vice.

Mem­bers of the 17th Po­lice Dis­trict stood be­hind the DiDo­men­ico fam­ily.

“The of­ficers of the 17th Po­lice Dis­trict will al­ways have Joseph DiDo­men­ico’s back,” said Bob Bal­lentine, re­cord­ing sec­ret­ary of Fraternal Or­der of Po­lice Lodge 5.

An En­gine 24 fire truck was also at the site. An hon­or guard at­ten­ded the be­gin­ning of the ce­re­mony be­fore mak­ing the short trip to the fu­ner­al of Charles Stew­art, a po­lice stakeout of­ficer who was badly wounded in a shootout with the rad­ic­al group MOVE in 1978 in Pow­elton Vil­lage. Stew­art died Oct. 5.

The plaque ded­ic­a­tion pro­gram is a joint ef­fort of law­yer James J. Binns and FOP Lodge 5. Binns gave the vis­it­ing po­lice of­ficers a greet­ing in Itali­an.

The plaque was the 108th for a Phil­adelphia po­lice of­ficer and the fourth one in 2012. It was the 260th over­all for Phil­adelphia-area of­ficers, fire­fight­ers and oth­er emer­gency re­spon­ders.

The spon­sor was po­lice Lt. John Prze­pi­orka.

The plaques are usu­ally in­stalled in the ground a day be­fore the ce­re­mon­ies, but rain forced the DiDo­men­ico plaque to be in­stalled the day after the ce­re­mony.

Any­one in­ter­ested in spon­sor­ing a hero plaque can con­tact James Binns at 215-275-3000. ••

Re­port­er Tom War­ing can be reached at 215-354-3034 or twar­ing@bsmphilly.com

You can reach at twaring@bsmphilly.com.

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