Riding 100 Miles Sunday to Raise More Funds for Local Victims of Recent Hurricanes

Grand Fondo New York in action. To donate to the Stony Point Seals for this cause, please visit www.stonypointseals.com
Grand Fondo New York in action. To donate to the Stony Point Seals for this cause, please visit www.stonypointseals.com

Stony Point, NY – May 15, 2013 – While the state, federal and local governments so far have provided Rocklanders more bluster than actual help, local residents continue to kick in to do the heavy lifting helping victims of Hurricane Sandy get back on their feet.

The Stony Point Seals aren’t waiting for next February to raise money for locals in need, this year. They will be riding the Gran Fondo Bike Race on Sunday, May 19, 2013 from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. – or whenever they finish 100 miles of road – from New York City to Bear Mountain and back again. It’s all for the same cause they’ve been focused on for the past six months – raising money to help local victims from Hurricane Sandy and Hurricane Irene.

Campagnolo Gran Fondo New York is a 100-mile cycling challenge for 7,000 riders from over 70 countries on May 19, 2013. The race starts in NYC on the George Washington Bridge, and continues north to Bear Mountain State Park. It finishes after 100 miles and 7,000 ft of climbing in Weehawken, NJ.

It’s been a long road the past six months for John Fox and Tom Ossa, who have organized many campaigns this year to create awareness of the plight that many Stony Point residents along the Hudson River have endured since Hurricane/Superstorm Sandy arrived in late October. For several communities, such as Ba Mar, River Road and Beach Road, homes were destroyed or significantly damaged. At the height of the disaster, over 65 families – 200+ individuals – were sheltered at the Stony Point Volunteer Ambulance Corps and subsequently housed for months at the Stony Point Center.

While the rescue and relief phases have passed, the recovery phases continue.

Locals felt frustration again this week, when a much ballyhooed “Sandy Help Center” came to town, but little in substantive assistance was actually offered. Very few turned out for the “help” and aside from a photo-op for local supervisors and Congresswoman Nita Lowey, little was accomplished. The waterfront of Stony Point still lays in shambles with no clear path forward to recovery.

North Rockland resident Laura Mariotti cautioned residents that the help center won’t actually offer much help. She stated “I was just there. This is only for help filling out the NY Sandy Help application. If you already filled it out and submitted it, you need to wait for a case worker to contact you. There is nothing further these people can do at the Help Center.”

Tom Ossa, president of the North Rockland Business Alliance, explained, “It typically can take years for families to get back to some sense of normalcy after a disasters like these (referring to both Hurricanes/Supertorm Sandy and Irene). Sure, people are back in their homes, but now the work to catch up on the crushing weight of bills, the roof repairs, the mold removal and of course – the raising of houses to comply with FEMA and State regulations – well, that work has just begun. Some didn’t have much to begin with, and now all this happens. We want these people to know that the North Rockland Community and local charities will *not* give up on them.”

John Fox’ Stony Point Seals held the 14th Annual Polar Plunge by the Hudson River in February. Overlooking some of the houses that were severely damaged from the storm, hundreds of participants jumped in the icy water to raise over $35,000 for the local Families affected by Superstorm Sandy. Consistent annual volunteers such as Marjory Metel Fox, Liz Possel, Chris Bryceland, John Corcoran, Michael Lydon and more, worked for months to get all the details in place. Thereafter, all the volunteers huddled together and began the work to provide assistance to the Families affected.

In addition to the Stony Point Seals, many volunteers have assisted in various ways over the months since the storm. According to Tom Ossa: “I can’t even begin to list all the people that have helped out with the fundraising efforts. Alison Bimbo, Jean Talamini, Christina Tesik, Josh Eccher from the Christian Chruch of Rockland, Lionel Mathis…I mean the list goes on and on. And they did it all from their hearts. Truth be told if they didn’t help, I wouldn’t have been able to do anything.”

“We’re not done, either. John’s gonna kick my @$$ on Sunday like he’s been for the past few weeks we’ve been training, but the real winner is the families in the area that will get the help from the donations. We’ll be doing some more events like this in the future, too. We’re not stopping anytime soon. There’s still some people suffering from Irene. We’re gonna address that, too.”

To donate to the Stony Point Seals for this cause, please visit www.stonypointseals.com.

The Stony Point Seals, a registered 501(c)3 Charity, has been providing assistance to North Rockland Families for 14 years. Their main event each year is an Annual Polar Plunge into the Hudson River in Stony Point. More information at www.stonypointseals.com or stonypointseals5@gmail.com.