July 12, 1986 is a day the McDonald family will never forget.
On that afternoon, three bullets pierced the neck of Steven McDonald as he was working in Central Park as a New York City Police detective. He was only 29.
Those three bullets, especially the one that shattered McDonald's spine, leaving him paralyzed from the neck down, would forever change three lives: Steven's, that of his wife, Patricia Ann (Malverne's current mayor) and their son, Conor, who she was pregnant with at the time.
Last Tuesday marked the 25th anniversary of that frightful day, and the McDonald's, joined by about 75 friends and family, gathered at their home in Malverne to reflect, pray and thank those who have helped them move on from the tragedy.
"We couldn’t have done this without all of you," they told their guests, which included many of Steven's fellow police officers.
They held a private Mass in their backyard, followed by a dinner, where family and friends discussed the many moments they shared with Steven and how he has impacted their lives.
Steven McDonald's story was not defined by the violence of that July da but rather by the forgiveness, faith and the love of family, in every sense of the word, that has been demonstrated since.
Not long after the frightful incident that claimed McDonald's mobility and nearly his life, he publicly forgave Shavod Jones, the teenager who shot him and has since travelled around the world telling his story to teach others about the power of forgiveness and faith.
Instead of a victim, he has become a hero and an inpsiration to many, including his son, who followed in his father's footsteps,
During a recent interview with this reporter, Steven McDonald spoke at great length about the importance of forgiveness. He said, “I have experienced a number of miracles.”