PORT JEFFERSON, N.Y. (1010 WINS/CBS 2) — When Vicky Ruvolo was hit with a frozen turkey that was thrown through her car windshield six years ago she suffered massive head and facial injuries.
On Tuesday her rehabilitation and forgiveness were rewarded with the Josephine McCarthy Award at St. Charles Hospital, reports 1010 WINS’ Carol D’Auria.
These days she’s back to work and gives speeches with the young man who threw the turkey.
“It was a stupid, ridiculous act,” Ruvolo said. “And we just need to stop and think and understand that we’re all human and we have to be here to help each other. Children are our future.”
Scott Abrams also received the award. Three years ago the former NYPD cop slammed into an MTA bus while riding his motorcycle on duty.
“Believe me, I have my own barometer. I feel my face every day. I know when it’s going to rain or snow. But I got the best gift in the world. I’m alive,” Ruvolo said.
Ruvolo returned to the hospital that nursed her back to health six years after her face and skull were crushed by a violent prank on Thanksgiving when a group of Suffolk County teens tossed a 15-pound turkey out of their moving car. It shattered through her windshield and left her in a coma and then unable to see or speak.
Through Victoria’s act of compassion towards the six pranksters who changed her life, she has quietly become a role model for peace.
Ruvolo told CBS 2’s Jennifer McLogan the youth who threw the turkey faced “25 years in jail and I just couldn’t see how that was going to help me move on and move forward and what would he learn from that?”
She said she begged the judge and got leniency for the young man – a sentence of six months in jail, five years probation and community service.
Since being victimized Victoria has worked tirelessly behind the scenes to turn around the lives of the turkey tosser and countless others, speaking at times with her own attacker at her side.
When asked kind of an impact her appearance alongside her attacker made on the students they spoke to, Ruvolo said, “They were all amazed, even to this day.”
“I would never want anyone to feel the pain and anguish that I went through. My heart is filled with compassion, gratitude and thankfulness.”
Forgiveness and moving forward are her messages. And now Ruvolo is co-writing a book about her recovery, to be published next year.