Clarkstown detective to mount fund-raising ride

(Original publication: October 10, 2002)

As a former horse owner and ranch hand, Tim O'Neill likes to sit tall in the saddle. But can he do it for 48 hours?

The Clarkstown police detective will climb atop his mount at 2 p.m. tomorrow and doesn't plan to come down until 2 p.m. Sunday.

During that time, he hopes to raise money to help build an indoor riding arena for youngsters at St. Agatha Home in Nanuet.

The arena, part of the Children of Promise Stable Barn at St. Agatha Home, will be named for New York City firefighter Thomas Foley, who rode in rodeos in his spare time. Foley, who lived in West Nyack, was killed in the World Trade Center attacks.

The COPS Barn is a year-old program of the Clarkstown Police Department, working with St. Agatha Home. The home serves about 140 children and teens who have been removed from abusive or neglectful homes by Family Court judges in New York City.

During the fund-raiser, O'Neill will be riding three horses from the COPS Barn: Omann, Kris and Ice.

Teens in the program learn responsibility and self-confidence by working at the stable, COPS Barn coordinator Donna Rose said.

The COPS Barn also sponsors a therapeutic riding program for disabled adults and children.

Foley had spoken to O'Neill about volunteering with the program.

As a fund-raiser for the project, O'Neill is seeking pledges for staying in the saddle. A $1 pledge for each hour for remaining on horseback will raise $48 for the community policing program. A $2 pledge per hour would raise $96.

Money will also go toward building a wheelchair ramp for disabled riders and supporting the barn program.

O'Neill's "sit-a-thon" will be part of a fair at the COPS Barn, 135 Convent Road. From 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, there will be sheepherding, beekeeping and sports fishing demonstrations, hay and pony rides, games for children, pumpkin painting and music. Representatives from a local fire department and the Clarkstown canine unit will also be on hand.

From 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday, hayrides, music and games will be featured, followed by a ceremony marking the end of O'Neill's ride.

To make a pledge, call 623-3461, Ext. 394.