In one of her first public appearances since the death of her husband, New York City Police Detective Steven McDonald, Malverne Mayor Patti Ann McDonald presented a letter on a plaque to the Rockville Centre board of trustees at its Feb. 6 meeting, thanking the village for its support during the difficult days after Steven suffered a heart attack and died on Jan. 10.
But the board had a surprise for her.
After some words from Patti Ann and her son, NYPD Sgt. Conor McDonald, Mayor Francis X. Murray unveiled a street sign, 104 Det. Steven McDonald Way, which will be erected next to the village police station, at the corner of Madison and Maple avenues.
McDonald's badge number was 104.
McDonald, who was shot and paralyzed 30 years ago while on patrol in Central Park, was born and raised in Rockville Centre. “My dad loved spending time here,” Conor said of the village. “He loved growing up in this town.”
His father, Conor said, would visit McDonald Pond, which was named after him by former Mayor Eugene Murray, every other week to relax. He also attended Mass every Sunday at St. Agnes Cathedral. “I loved the music,” McDonald would always tell Michael Bower, St. Agnes’s music ministry co-director.
To honor him, members of the St. Agnes Choir sang “America the Beautiful” and “God Bless America” for more than two dozen friends and police officers.
McDonald’s story is one of forgiveness. Despite losing the ability to move his arms and legs, he forgave the teenager who shot him that night in 1986.
“He was the real Superman,” Murray said, quoting Conor. But he also acknowledged the sacrifices Patti Ann had to make. “For every great hero, you need a heroine, and this story has one,” the mayor said. Patti Ann was three months pregnant with Conor when her husband was shot, and she had been by his side every day since.
After the tears, hugs, music and thank-yous, Patti Ann said, “Once again, you gave back to us more than we can ever return. You put one over on me. To put one over on me is not easy.”