With the holidays fast approaching and the end of the year nearing, we often begin to reflect on what it is we appreciate most in our lives. More often than not, we find ourselves recognizing how much our loved ones mean to us. We leave our grudges and bitterness at the door and show our gratitude by showering those special people in our lives with treats and gifts. We say forgive and forget, but do any of us truly know how to?
For Victoria Ruvolo, forgiveness is in her blood. In mid November of 2004, her life changed forever when a young man irresponsibly hurled a 20 pound frozen turkey into the front windshield of her oncoming Honda in Lake Ronkonkoma.
Anyone who knows this story is aware that Ruvolo nearly lost her life that day; her face was shattered and she was unconscious for nearly a month. Most of us would expect that an incident of this nature would have a negative effect on someone’s life, but if you have had the pleasure of meeting Ruvolo you know that the happenings of that night, in her eyes, changed her life for the better.
After numerous surgeries and a grueling regiment of rehabilitation, Ruvolo appeared at the young man’s sentencing and pleaded for the court to have mercy. She had forgiven him in order to move on and felt that years in prison would be a detriment to his future and would only prevent him from learning how to be more than what happened that night.
"I told him 'Just do something good with your life,'" she remembered. "And then I hugged him."
Since then, Ruvolo has done exactly that. Taking her own words to heart, she continues to speak to troubled teens and young adults alongside former Suffolk County probation psychologist, Robert Goldman in his conflict-resolution program, T.A.S.T.E. Together they co-wrote a book titled “‘No Room for Vengeance…’ In Justice and Healing”, which shares Ruvolo story from multiple points of view.
After its release in November of last year, Ruvolo has continued to spread her words of forgiveness while promoting the self-help benefits her book offers to anyone that needs to learn how to “move on and let go”.
“If my book touches just one person’s life, I will share my story forever and ever to help make a difference”. She continued, “People know that we truly care, that’s why it works”.
The book has not only reconnected Ruvolo with estranged family members, but also inspired new friendships.
“People always come up to me, which touches my heart. I tell them to appreciate every moment at every point in their lives, because it can be gone in a second”, Ruvolo said. “I thank everyone who thought and prayed for me, it’s because of you that I’m still here and helping people”.
This article was submitted by Melissa Spitalieri
*Check out Victoria Ruvolo on this week’s episode of Firehouse Kitchen - Saturday, November 24 at 11:30AM on WLNY TV 10/ 55. (Cablevision and Verizon Fios, Channel 10; Time Warner Cable, Chanel 55)