McDonald, a well-built, 6-foot-1 28-year-old, was rendered quadriplegic. His wife, Patti was 23 and pregnant with the couple’s son at the time.
Officer McDonald subsequently transformed his story into one of inspiration rather than tragedy, publicly forgiving Shavod Jones, the 15-year-old youth who fired three shots at him, and setting about promoting peace and forgiveness as a means of conflict resolution. (Jones spent eight years in prison for the shooting, and died in a motorcycle accident three days after his release.)
The Northern Ireland peace process became a crusade for McDonald, whose maternal and paternal families immigrated to New York from Ireland during the Famine. He has traveled to Belfast on several occasions, meeting with people from Protestant and Catholic communities and, on one occasion, addressing Stormont members.
In the 20 years since his injury, Patti McDonald has rarely strayed from her husband’s side, becoming a symbol in her own right of love, support and loyalty.
“It’s incredible, I think it’s wonderful,” she said of last week’s historic agreement between Sinn F