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Born May 24, 1940 to Ann and Raymond S. Alexander in Flushing, Queens, R. Alexander grew up in Port Washington, Flushing and Whitestone, Queens. Ray was an Altar boy at St. Mel’s RC Church in Whitestone Queens. He graduated in 1958 from St. Helena’s High School in the Bronx. He attended Eastern Illinois University and then enlisted in the United States Coast Guard Reserves where he served as a boatswains mate with rescue swimmer classification.
In his youth Ray enjoyed basketball, gymnastics and drag racing where he had a ’62 Chevy Biscayne with a 348 and 3 two barrels, he said “all worked out.” He was a frequent winner at the West Hampton, LI Drag Strip.
In December of 1962 Ray was appointed Patrolman in the NYC Police Department and assigned to the 17th Precinct. In October of 1963, following in his father’s footsteps, Ray was appointed to Fireman in the Fire Department of the City of New York and assigned to Ladder 144. Throughout his 41-year career Ray was assigned to L-33, L-111, L-10, L-26, and L-2. In 1986 he was promoted to Lieutenant and assigned to the 16th Battalion and then L-8, Engine 151 and E-70. At home and on his day off on the morning of September 11, 2001, he reported to his firehouse in the Bronx and from there to the World Trade Center via a commandeered NYC bus. He proceeded to work at the WTC and the Fresh Kills Landfill for months. During his career he was cited numerous times for conspicuous duties and once for personal bravery in which he slid on a life-saving rope down the rear of a burning tenement to search for trapped occupants.
In April of 1970 he married the love of his life Ginger Monz and they moved to Kings Park, Long Island. In 1971 their first son Raymond Hans was born and in 1974 their second son Robert William was born.