On Sunday, December 16th, 2012 a team of New York City area runners participated in an event to spread holiday cheer, toys and gift cards to residents in areas impacted by Superstorm Sandy. The kick off of this event, the Holiday Run for Relief, was hosted by the Staten Island Yankees at Richmond County Bank Ballpark.
Residents of Staten Island have become familiar with the Sunday morning sight of ribbons of orange-clad runners pounding pavement and hitting the south shores to help out since Sandy. Sunday’s event was a follow-up to several post-Sandy relief efforts, which began after the cancellation of the New York City Marathon on November 4th, when a group of runners from New York and around the world redirected their energies and developed their own alternate plan to deliver aid and assist with Superstorm Sandy recovery. They targeted Staten Island, traditionally home to the start of the legendary New York City Marathon race and whose southern shores were devastated by Sandy. With the race cancelled, thousands of runners instead turned up at the Staten Island Ferry, wearing their distinctive orange marathon shirts and carrying backpacks filled with supplies for residents. The group subsequently organized a few repeat visits and helped local residents and community groups with everything from cleaning out homes and demolishing drywall to stocking relief center shelves and helping build community databases.
The Holiday Run for Relief was designed to spread some goodwill and holiday cheer and to let citizens of some of the hardest-hit areas of Staten Island know they are not forgotten. The event was a way to combine a love of running and fitness with a chance to provide aid to those in need.
At 9 AM, more than a hundred hardy runners filed into Richmond County Bank Ballpark. The group sat behind home plate and Dr. Jordan Metzl, the lead organizer and nationally recognized Sports Medicine Physician at New York City’s Hospital for Special Surgery addressed the group. Jane Rogers, the President and General Manager of the Staten Island Yankees thanked the runners for their efforts with the Staten Island residents. The group was briefed on various destinations and volunteer opportunities for the day, which ranged from helping out with toy drives to manning relief centers.
After the National Anthem and getting pictures with Staten Island Yankees mascot, Scooter, the runners headed out at about 9:30 AM to distribute holiday cheer — in the form of stuffed toys and gift cards — to families in need.
- Dr. Jordan Metzl
We want people to know that we haven’t forgotten about the Staten Islanders and we want to keep helping as much as we can over the next weeks and months. Helping Staten Island is a true pleasure for us and we feel very connected to each person we meet. It is unbelievable to see the warmth, kindness and togetherness of Staten Island through these tough times.
- Jeanne Meyer, another group organizer:
“Runners are amazingly resilient types and are the sort who get out of bed, rain or shine to get outside and enjoy a good challenge. The Holiday Run for Relief was extra special thanks to the warm welcome and send off provided by The Staten Island Yankees. It’s a breathtaking view of New York Harbor, and it inspired us all to laugh off the chilly, rainy conditions and spend the rest of the morning delivering some good cheer and thousands of dollars in gift cards and toys to families who can really use a boost. Going door to door, and to local toy drives and events gave us the opportunity to meet so many of the local heroes who are providing relief, and talk to local residents who are still suffering loss and the trauma of rebuilding. Even though our contributions were relatively small this weekend, we do hope to continue reminding the rest of the world that the communities hit by the storm still need resources and support.
- Jane Rogers (FROM CBS ARTICLE)
“A lot of these kids were crying, saying they saw Santa there and they said ‘will he find our home?’ because a lot of them have been displaced,” said Jane Rogers, the president of the Staten Island Yankees.
As we approach the holidays, many people and organizations come together to give hope and joy to families in need. On Saturday, December 15th, 2012 families that have been displaced by Hurricane Sandy were invited to attend a free holiday party at The Vanderbilt at South Beach. Invitations to the party were extended to storm victims who were registered with the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
The Borough President James Molinaro’s Holiday Party was sponsored by the Staten Island Advance and The Siller Tunnel to Towers Hurricane Sandy Relief Fund. Partnering organizations included The Pirate Toy Fund of Rochester NY, Staten Island Yankees, New York Yankees, St. George Theatre, Adidas, Arbys, New York City Department of Park and Recreation, Susan E. Wagner High School, the Garden Factory, and Corrigan Moving Systems.
All items dispersed to the families were donated from all sponsoring and partnering parties. The items that were distributed were backpacks, binders, pencils, promotional items, clothing and toys in addition to Shop Rite gift cards.
The following quotes were provided via the Staten Island Advance…
Frank Siller, on behalf of the Stephen Siller Foundation:
“Christmas is a time for kids,” said Siller Foundation chair Frank Siller. “At a time when so much was stripped away from these families, it’s important for them to be able to celebrate and put a little normalcy back in their lives.”
“It’s really great to be able to get together with other families who went through the same thing and partake,” said Dia Vukovic, the mother of three children ages 9 months to 7 years old, who were forced from their New Dorp home for three weeks in the wake of the killer storm.
Borough President, James Molinaro:
Kids make a party. It is important for them to realize that they have a lot of people around them who love them and who want them to have a joyous holiday.”
New York Yankees Chief Operating Officer, Lonn Trost:
“It is a privilege to support the efforts of the Staten Island Yankees as they reach out to those who suffered such profound loss as a result of Hurricane Sandy.”
“For many in Staten Island and throughout the New York metropolitan region, the sounds of holiday reverie have been replaced with the strains of recovery and rebuilding. While our hearts continue to go out to those facing hardships, we remain inspired by their fortitude and the generosity of volunteers who have come to their aid.”
“We are also proud that the Staten Island Yankees and their ownership, Nostalgic Partners, have taken such an active role in supporting the residents of their borough. In the truest sense of Yankees spirit, they have embraced those in need and treated the entire community as their extended family.”
On Monday, December 3rd, Ryan Woodley accepted Minor League Baseball’s Sport Turf Manager of the year award in Short Season Rookie ball. Ryan is the Head Groundskeeper for the Staten Island Yankees and made the trip down to Nashville, Tennessee to accept the award at Baseball’s Winter Meetings. Please see below for a recap of Ryan’s experience.
I arrived to the Gaylord Opryland Resort in Nashville on Sunday, December 2nd. I knew there were going to be some MLB people sightings, but wasn’t sure how many people would actually be there. While I was checking into my room the Miami Marlins GM Larry Bienfest was checking in right beside me and that’s when I realized this was going to be a pretty neat experience. After my dad and I got settled in the room we walked around the resort. The indoor resort was massive, it took almost a half hour to get from one side to the other. Sunday was kind of a neat day to see all the ESPN commentators walking around and starting the broadcast sessions. On Monday I was scheduled to get the award at the Awards Luncheon. It was pretty cool to see everyone from Minor League Baseball at the luncheon and the awards ranged from Organization of the Year, to Sports Turf Manager of the Year, to Scout of the Year. After the awards ceremony was complete the other three turf managers and myself were part of a round table discussion on how to maintain a great field with big events. It was nice to get feedback after each session from other teams GMs and front office staff on what type of events they have each year on their fields. Overall the Winter Meetings experience far exceeded what my expectations were. It was a great learning experience and honor to accept the award on behalf of the Staten Island Yankees organization.
After being honored with the award, we asked Ryan to answer a few questions.
1. How rewarding is it for you to honored with this award?
This award was not an individual award. I couldn’t have done it with out my grounds crew (Zach, Cody, Levi, Pete, and Dan) and without the help of the front office. We had a tough year with rain and the field tarp, so it was very rewarding for everyone that we were recognized for the hard work. Jane Rogers and I work very closely when it comes to field events. She gives me the necessary resources I need to make the field perfect for all events.
2. What is it like working for the Staten Island Yankees?
Coming to work everyday for the Staten Island Yankees is very enjoyable. It’s always a new adventure with the events we have at the stadium. Everyone is great to work with and the Staten Island Yankee fans are awesome.
3. How did you get to where you are today as the Head Groundskeeper for the SIY?
I graduated from Southeast Tech in Sioux Falls, SD with a degree in Turf Management. From there I interned with the Milwaukee Brewers during the 2008 season and left after the season for another internship with the University of Nebraska. After completing my internship I accepted the position of Head Groundskeeper with the Helena Brewers, Rookie Level for the Milwaukee Brewers for the 2009 season. Upon completion of the season I accepted the Head Groundskeeper position for the Staten Island Yankees.
4. What advice can you give to young students who are looking to get into your profession?
Good advice I was given by my boss with the Milwaukee Brewers is to always work hard and ask a lot of questions during your internships. I wouldn’t be where I am today without doing internships and learning from different people’s styles of groundskeeping.