Wednesday, January 11, 2017

True Blue To The End

I may get in trouble for saying it, but it IS true: Blue Lives Matter. I would like to talk about one of those lives, that of NYPD Officer Steven McDonald, who famously forgave the cowardly gunman who left him paralyzed from the neck down. He had been on life support since mucus clogged his respirator,sending him into cardiac arrest on Friday, January 6, and last Tuesday, he died at North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset, Long Island. We had many things in common, other than the obvious first name: We were born roughly around the same time, (He was born in 1957 and I was born in 1958.) we loved New York, and we loved the New York Rangers, who, like the NYPD, are famous for their distinctive blue uniforms. He inspired the Rangers' "Steven McDonald Extra Effort Award," and asked nothing less than extra effort from children when it came to saying no to drugs and other bad influences.

Steven was a real life super hero, overcoming his handicap to serve New York's Finest as a detective, travel to Bosnia and the Middle East, and meet with South African President Nelson Mandela and the late Pope John Paul II, among others. He represented everything good about the NYPD, and, to a larger extent, New York City and America. As a loyal Blueshirt fan, I can imagine Officer McDonald is having a nice talk up in Heaven with another long-suffering Ranger supporter, my friend Ceil Saidel, a past president and long-time member of the Rangers Fan Club, who, tragically, was shot by a robber in her apartment building. No doubt they have a LOT of catching up to do!

Officer Steven McDonald leaves behind a wife, Patti Ann, a son, Conor,thousands of police officers and school children who looked to him as a role model, and two cities, the Big Apple, and a city-within-a-city called Rangerstown, all of which are paralyzed by sadness. Heart attacks do not discriminate, they can take any life, regardless of race, religion or national origin. What made  this one even more terrible was that it decided to take Officer McDonald, who, unlike another famous Ranger, did not wear a mask or ride a great silver stallion, but was as committed to justice as that one. (Like another famous Ranger,goalie Henrik Lundquist, he DID make a lot of saves for New York, and for that we are all grateful.)

A wake will be held Wednesday and Thursday at St. Agnes Church, Rockville Center, Long Island, and a funeral mass will be held Friday at St. Patrick's Cathedral on Fifth Avenue in New York at 9:30 AM EST.

Happy Trails, Buckaroo.

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