When we hear the name Steven McDonald perhaps we might just think, “That was the New York City policeman who was shot”. But Steven McDonald is much more than a wounded police officer. Detective McDonald, whose spinal cord injury and his brave and determined fight to overcome this tragedy have become so well known to so many, has become a folk hero. Not long after he was wounded, Det. McDonald captured the imaginations of those who knew his story and of many to whom his story was new by forgiving the teenager who had shot him. This became the first step in a life devoted to spreading a message of reconciliation, a message based on the values of the Gospel. Strongly supported by his wife Patti Ann, Steven has worked to bring this message to a much wider audience.
While Det. McDonald has been an outspoken advocate on behalf of Catholics in the Six Counties of Northern Ireland, he has traveled repeatedly to Ireland to speak of peace and reconciliation between Catholics and Protestants. In 1998 the McDonald family (Steven, Patti Ann and their son, Conor) visited Omagh, shortly after the bombing there. Steven joined with members of both the Catholic and Protestant communities to pray for a spirit of reconciliation, the necessary foundation for a just and lasting peace. The McDonalds also met with political and Church leaders, always with this same message. With many of his Hibernian brothers from Division 14 (Nassau County, New York), Det. McDonald has also worked with physically challenged youths, American and Irish, inspiring these young people by his own determination to rise above any limitations resulting from his paralysis and to give hope and encouragement by his own example.
Recognizing that life is a gift from God, Steven and Patti Ann have become active advocates for the unborn, as well as for people who have sustained life-threatening injuries. For their work on behalf of the pro-life cause, the McDonalds have been recognized and honored by the Dioceses of Rockville Centre and Brooklyn. Steven was honored as the Grand Marshal of our parade in 1990 for all that he represents, for his life of faith-based inspiration, for his consistent message of reconciliation and peace.