Legendary NYPD Detective Steven McDonald was honored with a special plaque on Wednesday, the one-year anniversary of his death.
"It hasn't been an easy year without having Steven," said Patti Ann McDonald, McDonald's widow.
McDonald's widow and son, NYPD Sergeant Conor McDonald, joined Mayor Bill de Blasio and members of the police department to dedicate the plaque in the Central Park Precinct stationhouse.
"Steven made life confined to a wheelchair and a ventilator look extremely easy," Patti Ann McDonald said. "He never showed the pain he suffered each and every day while going through medical procedures.
McDonald died one year ago after being taken off life support following a heart attack.
He had been paralyzed from the neck down when he was shot multiple times by a teen while on duty in 1986, but he spent the rest of his life inspiring people with his story of survival and forgiveness.
"People who make this noble choice to join this department do it for the love of humanity and no one exemplified that more than Detective Steven McDonald," de Blasio said.
McDonald, who was very religious and spiritual, forgave the teen who shot him. He remained a police officer and traveled around the city and world delivering a message of reconciliation.
"You live a legacy of hope, of forgiveness, not hating, loving, and it's tough, and especially in the jobs that we have, the things that we see every day. Sometimes that can leave you bitter and cynical," Police Commissioner James O'Neill said at the plaque dedication.
But not McDonald. He often changed the lives of those he met with his message.
"Gives hope to live in peace and make this world a better place," O'Neill said.
His wife was pregnant with their son when he was shot. That son decided to also join the NYPD.
"I just want to thank you all so much for your compassion and support that you have given my family since July of 1986," Conor McDonald said. "I know that we would not be here today as a family if it was not for your amazing, amazing loyalty and love."
"Steven lived life with a purpose to show us a better way," said Patti Ann McDonald.
The McDonald family and the NYPD say they must all work hard now to make sure the detective's legacy of peace and forgiveness live on for years to come.