Yankees Kick off HOPE Week with Rockaway Special Athletics

by Nolan Silbernagel
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The Yankees strike a smile with the Rockaway Beach Special Athletes

Nolan Silbernagel

HOPE Week shines a spotlight on causes the Yankees deem worthy of attention and support

In October 2012, Hurricane Sandy ravaged the Tri-State area, and few places were as devastated by the storm as Rockaway Beach in Queens, New York. 

One group, Rockaway Beach Special Athletics, was especially affected by Sandy as their gymnasium at St. Camilus Church was destroyed during the storm, leaving the organization nowhere to meet for their weekly meetings.

Joe Featherston, a 1969 Fordham University graduate and founder of the program, reached out to St. Rose of Lima School to see if his special athletes could utilize their gymnasium.  The school agreed, and after a brief hiatus, the special athletes in the program were able to return to seeing their friends and participating in their favorite physical activities.

For Featherston’s incredible work with providing a place for these individuals to exercise, and for their perseverance during Hurricane Sandy, the Yankees chose to honor Rockaway Beach Special Athletics for the first day of HOPE Week.

New York Yankees players Ivan Nova, Adam Warren, Preston Claiborne, Zoilo Almonte, and David Adams traveled down to Rockaway Beach to meet and play games with these special needs athletes. 

The professional athletes played basketball, wiffle ball, and kickball with members of the program throughout the afternoon and then joined them for lunch.  The day was topped off by having the Yankee organization provide Featherston a check for $5,000 towards the program, as well as an undisclosed amount towards the rebuilding of the St. Camilus gymnasium and also a donation to St. Rose for helping the program during this rebuilding phase.

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