Steven McDonald, a New York City police officer who was shot by a 15-year-old boy in Central Park in July 1986 and paralyzed from the neck down, but who forgave his assailant, hoped for the youth’s redemption and remained in the public eye for his spirit in the face of adversity, died on January 10 in Manhasset, N.Y. He was 59.
In an era in which the term hero is thrown around without thought, McDonald was a true hero.
From a societal perspective he was an inspiration to many.
His passing was felt hard in hockey circles – especially around Madison Square Garden.
McDonald was a big Ranger fan and could often be seen at the Garden.
McDonald, confined to a wheelchair after being shot and paralyzed when he was a 29-year-old plainclothes officer, pressed ahead with his passion for hockey and helped strengthen the bond that the Rangers have with the beat cops and firefighters from the Bronx to Staten Island and beyond.
In a moving evening, the Rangers honored him before and during the game. He remains an inspiration.