On July 12th, 1986 Detective Steven McDonald of the New York City Police Department was shot three times and left for dead by a 15-year-old. The gun was pulled when McDonald was questioning the boy about bicycle thefts in Central Park.
He was shot in the head, the throat and the spine. McDonald was not expected to survive those injuries. But he did. And after eight months in the hospital he moved the country with a few simple words.
“I feel sorry for him,” McDonald told the media. “I forgive him and hope that he can find peace and purpose in his life.”
Rest In Peace Steven McDonald.— New York Rangers (@NYRangers) January 10, 2017
Our friend. Our hero. Above and beyond. pic.twitter.com/6xOHSGnlyO
McDonald lived the next 30 years and six months of his life paralyzed from the neck down, breathing with the assistance of a ventilator. But he didn’t let life in a chair keep him from touching lives all over the world.
McDonald promoted a message of forgiveness and peace in his life. He mentored young police officers and spoke at schools. He traveled to the Middle East, Northern Ireland, Bosnia and other places far from the lights and sounds of the City he loved.
He lived to watch his son Conor, who is now 29-years-old, join the police force. And Rangers fans were given the privilege of watching Conor grow up year-by-year when the McDonald family awarded the Steven McDonald Extra Effort Award, the greatest team award in sports, to the most deserving Blueshirt.
The award is voted on by Rangers fans and is given to the player who goes “above and beyond” the call of duty. It is, and forever will be, a celebration of McDonald’s spirit.
That spirit will forever live inside the Garden. It will continue to inspire us and remind us what courage and sacrifice are, what peace and forgiveness are, and how hockey can bring us together.
“The men of the New York Rangers and we, their fans, know that there are no easy victories. That’s how they play the game. That’s how we live our lives. That’s how we like it.” -Steven McDonald
Blueshirt Banter wishes to express our deepest sympathy and to send our condolences to the amazing and forever inspiring McDonald family. Thank you for everything. We will never forget Steven.
Let’s go Rangers.