Detective Steven McDonald’s remarkable legacy and connection to the Bronx-based Villa Maria Academy will live on through an awards ceremony named after the fallen hero. Villa Maria Academy’s newly named “Steven McDonald Evening of Champions”, recognizes fitness champions from kindergarten to eighth grade. Detective Steven McDonald was a regular guest speaker at the event and made lasting connections with the student body.
Police Commissioner James O’Neill, Sergeant Conor McDonald (Detective McDonald’s son), and Patti Ann McDonald (Detective McDonald’s widow) attended the 28th annual celebratory ceremony. During Commissioner O’Neill’s remarks, he acknowledged honoree Samantha Forese, a student at the school. After losing her eye to cancer, Samantha maintained a joyful spirit in class, especially in gym. Police Commissioner O’Neill shared how he believes this young girl embodies Detective Steven McDonald’s tenacity.:
“Samantha, you are made up of all the same characteristics as Detective McDonald: you are inspiring, you are sweet, and you’ve beaten the odds by overcoming so much difficulty in your life,” said Commissioner O’Neill.
Commissioner O’Neill also spoke about Detective Steven McDonald’s exceptional life and the importance of keeping his spirit alive:
“Steven’s bravery, his love, and his message of peace and forgiveness will long outlive him through events such as this.”