Hofstra Pulse Magazine

Hofstra equestrian team helps with community recovery

The Hofstra University Equestrian Team lends a hand to Long Beach in Sandy’s aftermath.

By Mercedes Rapalo

Damaged Long Beach boardwalk two weeks after Sandy. Photo Credit: Katie Coe

Damaged Long Beach boardwalk two weeks after Sandy.
Photo Credit: Katie Coe

From horseback to house gutting, Hofstra University’s Equestrian Team took time away from the barn to help victims of Hurricane Sandy pick up the pieces, literally.

With the boardwalk destroyed, businesses closed and homes devastated, the team set out in search for families who needed helping hands. Equestrian Team Captain, Katie Coe, 21, from Mattituck NY, immediately wanted to get involved. She began to search for Long Beach volunteers and found Douglas O’Grady. With his help, the riding team met Long Beach families facing severe damage who needed their houses gutted.

Although the team only experienced the worst of Hurricane Sandy second-hand, their involvement was far from meaningless. Along with the rest of the community, the Equestrian Team vigorously worked to clean out homes, some that had been flooded with approximately five feet of water.

“I couldn’t believe that this was once a beautiful town and that this is all coming out of people’s basements,” Hofstra Equestrian Team member Amanda Hughes, 21, from Stamford Conn., said.

Debris from homes on Long Beach after Sandy. Photo Credit: Katie Coe

Debris from homes on Long Beach after Sandy.
Photo Credit: Katie Coe

As the team emptied and took apart an entire first floor of a house,covered in sewage, oil, refrigerator water, mold, sheetrock and insulation, the volunteers said it was impossible to imagine what it would be like to be the woman standing on the second-floor balcony watching her life being moved to the curb.

It wasn’t only the team who was grateful for the opportunity to help. The homeowner, Barbara Byrne from Long Beach, NY, and her daughter Maureen Moran, a recent Hofstra University graduate, were extremely grateful to the team for all they did for her family and mother who lived in the now disheveled house for the past 48 years.

In a letter to Hofstra University, Moran wrote, “My family and I will be forever grateful to the women of the Hofstra Equestrian Team and to Hofstra University who have time after time been there for us through the storm.”

The team has been working vigorously almost every weekend since the storm hit and they plan to continue to volunteer their time working on private homes and contributing to food drives every chance they get in efforts towards recovering the Island they call home.

Members of the Hofstra Equestrian Team gutting out the garage of a home after Sandy. Photo Credit: Katie Coe

Members of the Hofstra Equestrian Team
gutting out the garage of a home after Sandy.
Photo Credit: Katie Coe

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