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Erging for Recovery Relief at Port Washington

by Ed Moran | Feb 08, 2013
When Hurricane Sandy slammed into the East Coast last fall, it caused considerable damage on Long Island. In Garden City, N.Y., located about 15 miles from the coast of the Atlantic Ocean, some houses were destroyed and power was lost for two weeks. But in the coastal towns, the effects were devastating. Among the many victims was the Long Beach School District and its athletic department, which lost six of its seven gymnasiums, and all of its uniforms and equipment.
When Hurricane Sandy slammed into the East Coast last fall, it caused considerable damage on Long Island.

In Garden City, N.Y., located about 15 miles from the coast of the Atlantic Ocean, some houses were destroyed and power was lost for two weeks. But in the coastal towns, the effects were devastating. Among the many victims was the Long Beach School District and its athletic department, which lost six of its seven gymnasiums, and all of its uniforms and equipment.

The students who row for Port Rowing in Garden City took notice and did something about it. Rowing one million meters at a December ergathon, they raised $25,000. They gave $10,000 to the Long Beach School District, while the remaining $15,000 went towards their rowing and adaptive programs.

“Every year since we started the program, we’ve done an annual ergathon,” said Port Rowing senior captain Lindsay Heyman. “This year we decided that the first $10,000 would go to victims of the storm.

“At first we didn’t know exactly which program we were going to donate it to, but throughout the whole ergathon, as grueling as it was, we knew the money was going to go to a good cause and that it would be local and it kind of got us through it. It was very tough. In the end, we decided it would go to a high school athletic program.”

With a check in hand, Heyman, her coaches, and other team members drove to Long Beach and presented the check to school officials and students in the school library.

“It was different, it was unexpected that the students seemed so fine and were so appreciative of everything. It was a great feeling to know that we were able to help,” she said. “You know, that warm feeling you get in your heart when you get to do something good everyday and you were able to help restart someone else’s program.”

The program, only in it’s third year, held an ergathon in 2012 to raise money for the rowing club. Having seen the destruction Sandy inflicted, the team decided it needed to raise money for something other that itself, said head coach and club executive director Steve Panzik.

“We’re a young program, we’re only in our third spring coming in, and one our first fund raisers last year was an ergathon. The kids combined together into teams and they rowed 500,000 meters,” he said.

“Just after Hurricane Sandy, we knew what was going on out there and when it came time to do our fund raiser again, we sat down as a team and decided we couldn’t, in good nature, go out and try to raise money for ourselves. Our community was affected, but not to the degree of the communities around us.”

So the decision was made that the team would double it’s goal for meters rowed and money raised and would donate the money to Long Beach.

“We were without power for a couple of weeks and some houses were destroyed, but we felt fortunate compared to what happened in the Roackaways and on Long Beach,” said Panzik. “We wanted this money to go somewhere it could have a direct impact. They don’t have a crew team out there, but it went to all their programs. It was the largest single donation they have received to date to start rebuilding their entire athletic program out there.”

And while $10,000 is not enough to replace the six destroyed gyms, or the uniforms and equipment that were lost in the storm, the Port Rowing donation was greatly appreciated.

“We are very gratified and extremely thankful that the kids from Port Washington Rowing and their coaches and that whole community that’s involved with the rowing program raised this money for us,” said Arnold Epstein, Long Beach School District Director of Health, Physical Education and Athletics.

“This is a substantial amount of money and it will certainly help the athletic department. We lost all our uniforms and most of our equipment for athletics, and this will help pay for some things that we will need to be able to compete in the spring,” he said.

“And it has special meaning having it come from students helping other students from another community. It showed great community service and I believe that demonstrates the quality of students they have in the Port Washington Rowing community.”
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