Steven McDonald, a detective with the New York Police Department, was questioning three youths in Central Park one hot summer day in 1986 when one of them shot him three times – a brutal attack that he narrowly survived. The bullets paralyzed him from the neck down, and dependent on a tracheotomy.  He had been married less than a year, and his wife was two months pregnant.

McDonald spoke to thousands of students in schools up and down the East Coast. Aside from recounting the harrowing events of the day that changed his life, McDonald focused on his long road to inner and outer recovery – a remarkable journey through anguish and anger to peace that began with a decision to forgive his attacker. He told audiences why he felt that “the only thing worse than a bullet in my spine would have been revenge.” In December of 2003, Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly acknowledged his extraordinary contribution to the community with a surprise double promotion to Detective first grade. Detective McDonald passed away on January 10, 2017.