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Officer Steven McDonald to speak at Wilbraham & Monson Academy

Date: 1/19/2009

WILBRAHAM -- On Jan. 23, Officer Steven McDonald of the New York State Police Department will speak to students and faculty of Wilbraham & Monson Academy with his message of answering violence with forgiveness and nonviolence. Officer Steve, as he is known, has been making these presentations since 1988, two years after he was critically injured in the line of duty by a 15-year-old suspect in a series of bicycle thefts in Central Park.

McDonald's speaking engagements range from school and community groups across the country to the Republican National Convention in 2004 to Northern Ireland. A Catholic, McDonald joined Protestant writer and speaker Johann Cristoph Arnold in addressing the Northern Ireland Assembly at Stormont Castle in Belfast.

McDonald, a quadriplegic as a result of the shooting, explains why he has chosen to devote his life to fighting violence in this way: "I don't believe in forgive and forget. I don't think you ever forget occasions that hurt you spiritually or emotionally or physically, but the hurt becomes a part of who you are. You learn from it, and if you're a good enough person, that experience educates your future. But if you're overwhelmed by the bitterness and the sadness and all the negative emotions, you never climb out of it. I can only say, in my case, I did learn from it and I'm a better person for that."

The lecture is part of the Robert McCallum '47 Visiting Lecture Series, enriching the spiritual lives of students at Wilbraham & Monson Academy.

McDonald will speak on Jan. 23 at 1 p.m. in the Alumni Memorial Chapel at the Wilbraham & Monson Academy, located at the corner of Main Street and Mountain Road. Parking is available across Main Street in a small visitors' lot.