Albany sword attack victim giving back to others

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It’s been one year since a mentally ill man walked into a community center on Sheridan Avenue in Albany and brutally attacked one of the shelter employees with a sword. That injured worker, Jon Romano, returned to the scene of the crime with difficult memories in his mind, but with goodness in his heart.

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Romano was a mentally troubled teen in 2004, when he brought a gun into Columbia High School in East Greenbush, and began shooting.

A teacher Romano shot in 2004 survived. An assistant principal grabbed the gun before Romano could shoot anyone else.

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After spending 18 years in prison, Romano began serving marginalized people in the community. He went to work for homeless people in the area.

A deranged man brutally attacked him at one of the shelters.

Romano returned to that community center on Tuesday bearing gifts. He brought items of clothing, toiletries, and coloring books for kids.

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Despite the turmoil and trauma he has experienced in his life, he is still determined to be an advocate for marginalized members of this community.

He continues to donate his time and his compassion for others.

Romano is uncomfortable with the word “redemption,” he said. He explained that’s not why he’s doing all of this. He just wants to shine a light on a certain portion of society so that more people realize there are many people less fortunate than him, and there are many opportunities for others do what they can do to help in this community.

Romano was willing to be there, despite trepidation returning to this location.

“So to be here on the one-year anniversary has been healing. To raise donations over the past two months or so, I think I’ve been telling people, you know, I wanted to have this date be of meaning and purpose, something where we can all do something positive, and yeah, that’s just been another layer of healing upon everything else. So to be here today has been amazing,” Romano said.

Romano was also angry because he doesn’t believe that government is doing enough to pay attention to fund mental health programs.