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The Sisters Picked a Winner

It all started with a broken water heater

By FRANK DRUCKER

temadaseg201When Howard Schoor paid his first visit to the Sisters of the Good Shepherd in Wickatunk, N.J., it was purely a business call. The leaky water tank was on the blink, and Mr. Schoor, an engineer, was summoned for help. And help he did.

Now, a decade later, when Howard Schoor pays a visit to the Sisters of the Good Shepherd, it’s generally a social call. For both the water and the endowments are flowing very well for the Sisters these days.

Howard Schoor well remembers how it all happened. “I got a call from a benefactor of Coffier Services, which is run by the Sisters,” he explains, “asking for some help with a water heater. Subsequently, I was invited to the annual Christmas cocktail party, where I learned about Collier Services and what it does.” If the name itself sounds familiar, it’s because the Collier family is well known for its newspaper and magazine ventures. Some 65 years ago, the family donated 210 acres of land.

Today, Schoor serves as the foundation’s president. Frances, his wife, is on the board of directors. Thanks in large part to the Schoors, the Sisters’ endowment has increased from $9,000 to approximately $850,000.

The Schoors also host the Sisters’ benefit, now annually held on the first Saturday of June at their 45-acre standardbred horse farm, Colts Gait Farm, in New Jersey. Howard Schoor has been a successful owner and breeder of harness horses for many years, and one particular trotting filly has more than done her share for the Sisters of the Good Shepherd.

Colts Gait Kateri, named for the environmental center and Native American Catholic Kateri Tekakwitha, whose cause for sainthood currently is being advanced, was a modestly bred horse “who didn’t even look like she’d make it to the races,” according to Schoor.

“So I asked for divine intercession,” Schoor says. “You see, Colts Gait Kateri’s mother, Julie C., was owned by a friend of mine, Father Thomas O’Connor, who worked with the nuns at Collier.”

Father O’Connor has owned many harness horses over the years, but Julie C. was not among the better ones. At times, O’Connor has kept his horses at Collier. And on the occasion of a transfer one year, O’Connor asked Howard Schoor to keep Julie C. at Colts Gait Farm. Schoor agreed, and bred her to his top staffion, Rule the Wind. The result was Colts Gait Kateri.

“When she didn’t begin her career well, I told the Sisters I’d tithe 10% of her winnings to Collier,” Schoor explains now. “I figured I could use all the help I could get.”

It worked. Seemingly overnight, Colts Gait Kateri became a star. As a two-year-old in 1992, she made $68,314, winning eight of eleven races. The Sisters came to refer to Colts Gait Kateri as “their” horse, often going to races to cheer her on.

temae9seg211Today, Colts Gait Kateri has earned more than $119,000.

Howard Schoor, a 54-year-old Jewish man from Staten Island, has been nothing short of a godsend for the Good Shepherd Sisters. Yet, he honestly believes it is the other way around.

“I guess the reasons I became involved with the Good Shepherd Sisters are twofold,” says Schoor. “First, my wife and I were fortunate to raise three children without any problems, and when I saw the programs at Collier and how they’re directed to the needs of troubled children, I began to realize how lucky I was.
“Second,” he adds, “there was, and still is, a real feeling of satisfaction for me in giving. You can see, feel, and sense it right away.

“My attitude toward charitable endeavors is simple,” Schoor says. “I started out with nothing, and I’ve become fairly successful, so I give something back to society, which has allowed me to be successful.

“There are a great deal of social needs in our country that are not addressed by government,” Howard Schoor explains. “Those of us who can need to give something back— in our own way.”

Copyright © 2011 Howard Schoor Comanies

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