Welcome, NC-- Twenty years after a sniper's bullet left David Parde of Lexington paralyzed from the chest down, he's reacting with courage and forgiveness and a big party to celebrate life.
News 2's Liz Crawford was there to sit down with Parde before the celebrations began on Saturday night. Parde explained that his party was more about thanking all the people who've stood by him over the last twenty years.
While those who attended the event spoke about Parde as an inspiration in their lives, Parde is too humble to admit that.
"I don't know about inspiring but I just had a good time and I've enjoyed it, so many people have helped me. So many people have done things for me. If I died tomorrow, I've enjoyed twenty years of living," said Parde.
"I'm just paralyzed from chest down, there are families out there that have lost officers, I'm very lucky," added Parde.
The three teenagers that shot Parde in 1992 are out of prison. David Parde told News 2 that he ran into one of them unexpectedly at a grocery store two years ago. Parde chose to have a conversation with him rather than hold onto feelings of hate and revenge.
Parde said, "I've never hated them and I've always forgiven them because if I hadn't, I wouldn't be able to do this today, so forgiveness is there."
" He made a choice in life that he was going to live it to the fullest and he was going to help others. He's a forgiving type person. He forgave the people that shot him and that says lot about his character and what kind of person he is," said Lexington Police Chief John Lollis.
When Parde was shot, Chief Lollis was a lieutenant with the Lexington police. Lollis said that David still volunteers at the police station and teaches DARE to local students.
On Saturday night, more than 200 people were on hand to celebrate twenty years of living for David Parde.
WFMY News 2