When Garden City resident Leslie Segrete learned that Adventureland in Farmingdale would be retiring its Hurricane roller coaster at the end of the 2014 season, she vowed to be there for the final ride.
So when the last train barreled along the 23-year-old coaster’s tracks Monday evening, Segrete was seated in the front car.
She had secured her seat by making a $200 donation to Nassau Suffolk Services for Autism, a local nonprofit organization dedicated to the education and treatment of individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders.
The charity was one of two that Adventureland selected as the beneficiaries of its Last Ride for a Cause contest. From July 1 to Oct. 9, the amusement park conducted a sweepstakes to determine who would get seats on the Hurricane’s final two rides.
To enter, contestants had to make a donation to either NSSA or the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. The six highest donors for each charity would nab a seat. Those who donated to the not-for-profit that raised the most money would get to experience the final ride, while the others would be on the second-to-last voyage.
The contest raised a total of $2,607 -- $1,379 for NSSA and $1,228 for JDRF.
Segrete, a Farmingdale native, recalled riding the Hurricane with her father as a young girl.
After he died, she said she would visit his grave at nearby Pinelawn Memorial Park with her husband, and then, the couple would stop by Adventureland to ride the coaster in his memory.
Segrete said her husband also died a few years ago, so she came to the park Monday by herself to ride the coaster one last time.
She added, “ It makes me feel good that I’m riding it for my guys.”