That feeling was evident Friday at NYPD headquarters in Manhattan for the McDonald family.
In 1986, NYPD officer Steven McDonald was paralyzed from the neck down after he was shot while on patrol in Central Park. It had been touch-and-go as to whether McDonald would survive his injuries.
But on Friday — 30 years later — McDonald, 59, and his wife Patricia Ann McDonald, swelled with pride as they watched their son Conor McDonald get promoted to sergeant.
Despite what happened to his father, Conor McDonald, 30, decided in 2010 to join the NYPD. After working as a detective, on Friday he was recognized with scores of other officers to the new rank.
“I didn’t think it would be possible to do it in front of my dad,” Conor McDonald told reporters after the ceremony. “I know it is borrowed time with my dad. It is a miracle he is alive. So to do it in front of him is emotional.”
Steven McDonald uses a wheelchair and after years of rehabilitation can speak, although he breathes with a respirator. He had been shot in the neck by 15-year-old Shavod Jones, who was sentenced to 10 years in prison for the crime. Jones died in 1995 after his release.
“I think Conor will care for and make people of our city very proud of him,” Steven McDonald said.
“I would salute him, but ...” McDonald, a quadriplegic, added with wry humor.
Patricia Ann McDonald, who is the current mayor of Malverne, said she was proud of her son and still thinks about the dangers he faces in police work.
“Like any mother, wife, who has a son or daughter on the force, you always worry, you do a lot of praying,” she said.