HIS journey of hope and forgiveness following a horrific attack inspired 40,000 people to attend his funeral.
And now the life of a New York icon, Detective Steven McDonald, has been honoured by a classroom assistant in Edinburgh – who has helped create a special tartan in his name.
Claire Ward travelled to America in 2016 to take part in a remembrance walk to honour victims of the September 11 World Trade Center attacks which killed nearly 3,000 people in 2001.
It was during her time in the States that the high school support assistant came across the emotional story of Steven McDonald, founder of the annual event and a detective in the New York Police Department.
On July 12, 1986, Mr McDonald had been shot three times by a 15-year-old boy, Shavod Jones, whom he was questioning about bicycle thefts in Central Park.
His injuries left him as a quadriplegic and breathing through a ventilator.
Despite his horrendous ordeal, he forgave the boy, saying he wanted to take the message and peace and forgiveness around the world, and did so along with good friend Father Mychal Judge.
It was at the memorial walk in 2016, named after Father Judge, the chaplain for the Fire Department New York, who died in the North Tower of the World Trade Center when the South Tower fell during the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
Father Judge is listed as the first official victim of the attacks.
Claire said: “9/11 is such an international tragedy and I did a lot of reading about it.
“I read about Father Judge and I was determined to do the memorial walk when I came across the event. It was a real privilege to meet Steven. I was so nervous but also excited. He is an icon in New York.
“He gave me a book called Why Forgive and signed it with his mouth. Seeing him really put things into perspective.”
The pair kept in touch following their meeting in New York and Claire was saddened when she discovered he passed away in January last year aged 59 after suffering a heart attack a few days earlier.
His death was later classified by the NYPD as a homicide.
It was at this point Claire was determined to help create a lasting legacy for Mr McDonald with a Scottish twist.
She added: “I wanted to do something that was unique. I thought we could do a new tartan pattern for Steven and his family liked the idea.”
Claire asked for help from Clare Campbell, owner and founder of Prickly Thistle Scotland Ltd.
She created six different tartan patterns with the final design chosen by Mr McDonald’s wife and son.
The Detective Steven McDonald Tartan has been officially registered with The Scottish Register of Tartans. It is now being woven into garments including ladies’ extra length scarves and ties which are expected to be ready to order soon.
Claire said: “Steven’s legacy lives on in a unique and beautiful way.
“All the colours mean something different and it has been a fantastic project to be part of.
“The main focus is to commemorate Steven and I think it is great.”
For more details about Mr McDonald and the new tartan, go to http://bit.ly/2DU08x0