In a fitting tribute to honor the indelible mark Detective Steven McDonald left on our region, New York State has officially renamed a portion of the Southern State Highway in his honor. The renaming was made official during a special ceremony in Malverne where Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan (2nd Senate District) was represented at the event by Senator Elaine Phillips (7th Senate District). Senator Flanagan along with Senator Todd Kaminsky (9th Senate District) and Assemblyman Brian Curran (21st Assembly District) worked in a bipartisan manner to pass legislation bestowing this honor for Detective McDonald and his family.
The state legislators were joined by other elected officials, New York Police Department leadership and the community to commemorate the life of Detective McDonald and to unveil the signs that proclaim the new designation.
Most importantly, they were joined by Detective McDonald’s wife Patricia Ann McDonald, who serves as mayor of Malverne, and his son Conor, who followed his father’s footsteps by joining the New York City Police Department where he is now a sergeant.
“Detective McDonald was a truly inspiring public servant who used his life, both before and after he was wounded, to bring hope to others. He is a true hero who showed us all what it means to be an exemplary human being. This designation will forever remind us of Detective McDonald’s sacrifices, his lessons of forgiveness, and the strength of his family and community in supporting him. I thank my colleagues for making this fitting recognition possible and also thank the McDonald family for allowing us all to learn what compassion means,” stated Senate Majority Leader Flanagan.
“Detective Steven McDonald was a husband, a father and a friend, but he was also a public servant who dedicated his life to protecting and serving others with grace and humility,” Senator Elaine Phillips said. “Through his resilience and strength, Detective McDonald showed the world that tragedy would not define him, that forgiveness is stronger than revenge, that life can go on, and that a legacy can last forever.”
As many in our community are well aware, then Officer McDonald was on patrol when he was shot and paralyzed in 1986 while his wife was three months pregnant. Just one year later, in an inspiring moment of forgiveness, while still in the throes of recovery, he forgave the man who shot him by saying through his wife: “I forgive him and hope he can find peace and purpose in his life.”
From that point forward, he became the living embodiment of peace and understanding in our region, our state and our nation up until his unfortunate passing in January of last year.
To honor his legacy, the New York State Senate passed legislation this past June to rename the roadway. It ceremonially renames the section of the Southern State Parkway that runs from the Belt Parkway to the Meadowbrook Parkway as the “Detective Steven McDonald Memorial Highway” and directs the state Department of Transportation to post signage specifying the designation. The bill (S6549) was jointly sponsored in the Senate by the entire Long Island Senate delegation, including Senators Phillips, Kemp Hannon, Carl L. Marcellino, John Brooks, Phil Boyle, Kenneth LaValle, and Thomas Croci, and former New York City police officer Senator Martin Golden.
“Few people possess the courage and the capacity for forgiveness like Detective McDonald,” said Senator Todd Kaminsky. “I consider it a great honor to have known him. Our children do not have to rely on superhero movies to learn about heroics -- they just need to learn about Detective McDonald. This is a fitting tribute to a true hero and will ensure that his legacy of love and hope will endure for years to come."
“Along with Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan and Senator Todd Kaminsky, I am proud to be a part of honoring Detective Steven McDonald with the renaming of the Southern State Parkway,” said Assemblyman Brian Curran (21st Assembly District). “Today it becomes official. The renaming of this highway honors the life, service, sacrifice and family of Detective McDonald. Every day when residents drive this stretch of highway bearing his name, they will be reminded of the extraordinary life he lived, but just as importantly the manner in which he lived it. Steven McDonald was a living symbol of peace and forgiveness and an example for all us. We are proud of Det. McDonald and we thank his family for their sacrifice.”
“The Detective Steven McDonald Memorial Highway will touch both the City of New York and the Village of Malverne in Nassau County, where he lived with his family. By teaching peace and forgiveness, despite the challenges he so bravely faced, Steven touched the world. That’s exactly what Detective Steven McDonald did in life, and it’s what he continues to do as we remember his courage, his strength and his sacrifice,” said NYPD Commissioner James P. O’Neill.