Asked about their Irish heritage, the McDonalds — Patti, the mayor of Malverne, her husband, Steven, and their son, Conor — who were all recently inducted into Irish America magazine’s Hall of Fame, described how the resolve and toil of their ancestors helped to build a nation in which they can carry on that admirable tradition.
“I think the Irish have suffered greatly because of their ethnicity and their religion, their faith — and they’ve overcome,” said Steven, a former NYPD officer who overcame his own struggles after he was gunned down on duty years ago and left a quadriplegic. “They’ve overcome great obstacles to be a part of this experiment we know as America.”
After attending an induction ceremony last month at the Metropolitan Club in Manhattan, Steven and Patti agreed that being inducted into the Hall of Fame is “a humbling experience” that is very special and sweet, considering they’re the first family to earn the distinction.
This year’s inductees, which will all be honored in the magazine’s museum in Wexford, Ireland, include political pundits Bill O’Reilly and Chris Matthews, Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, historian and author Christine Kinealy, Chicago businessmen Patrick Ryan and Andrew McKenna and native Dubliner Brian Stack, the managing director of CIE Tours International and president of the Ireland-U.S. Council for Commerce and Industry.
“To be in that caliber of people and what they’ve accomplished is just tremendous and a real honor,” said Patti.
“Irish people, no matter what their religious background, no matter where they call home,” Steven added, “we represent them as best we can.”
Patricia Harty, a co-founder of the magazine, said that the McDonalds earned the honor by supporting one another as they serve their community. “The Irish family is a very important part of our culture, and they definitely exemplify it,” Harty said. “I think in this day in age, everything’s fractured, but it’s just really nice to focus in on a unit and see them working together and keep[ing] it all going.”