Junior Ryan Rhoome and Travion Leonard lend a hand. Photos by by Joe DiBari
Junior Ryan Rhoome and Travion Leonard lend a hand.
Photos by by Joe DiBari

While many students were heading to Edwards Parade to enjoy one of first warm days of spring, some 90 Fordham University student-athletes instead headed to the Rockaways on April 6, to help those affected by Hurricane Sandy as part of the University’s Sandy Solidarity Project.

The Fordham student-athletes joined a group from Habitat for Humanity Westchester, led by Executive Director Jim Killoran, in cleaning up areas hard hit by Sandy back in October. They assisted with clearing debris from houses damaged by the storm, demolishing decks that were ruined and deemed unsafe, hauling drywall to houses being renovated, and helping one homeowner to clear debris.

Football student-athletes move drywall for Sandy victims
Football student-athletes move drywall for Sandy victims

Members of the Fordham women’s swimming program provided some engineering assistance, helping level the front deck of a house that was raised by floodwaters. The women lent their muscle to dig out the temporary supports in order to let the deck level out to its original position—much to the delight of the deck’s builder.

Conor O’Kane, associate director of Campus Ministry, encouraged the student-athletes to interact with the residents and share their stories. O’Kane stressed the importance of understanding the devastation suffered by the people of Breezy Point and Far Rockaway, especially now as the storm has faded from the headlines.

“When you go back to campus, bring the lessons you learned here today with you,” said O’Kane. “Share the stories you have been told by the residents with your classmates and reflect on what it meant to the people whose lives you touched today that you were here.”

Fordham student-athletes help clear debris.
Fordham student-athletes help clear debris.

This was the second student-athlete effort toward helping Sandy victims. In January at the Fordham Breakfast for Champions, the Fordham Student-Athlete Advisory Council (SAAC) presented a financial gift to St. Francis de Sales School in Rockaway Beach, a school and parish that was severely damaged by Hurricane Sandy.

The Sandy Solidarity Program was established by the office of University Mission and Ministry and the Dorothy Day Center for Service and Justice established and includes Fordham students traveling to the Rockaways to assist the Habitat for Humanity Westchester Project in rebuilding the Breezy Point and the Rockaways.

For more photos and video of the Fordham Athletics Sandy Saturday, visit the Fordham Athletic website at www.fordhamsports.com.

by Joe Dibari