40 ‘Edgers’ rap­pel for Over the Edge NWCT

The Register Citizen (Torrington, CT) - - FRONT PAGE - Story con­trib­uted by Amy Wynn, Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor, North­west Con­necti­cut Arts Coun­cil, Tor­ring­ton.

The big day came. I was quite ner­vous. Truth be told, the hard­est part of the whole ex­pe­ri­ence was wait­ing.

TOR­RING­TON » Forty peo­ple have signed up to rap­pel 111 feet down Tor­ring­ton Tow­ers on Sept. 16 in sup­port of the three part­ner­ing non-prof­its — Prime Time House, the North­west Con­necti­cut Arts Coun­cil, and the North­west Con­necti­cut Cham­ber Ed­u­ca­tion Foun­da­tion. As of July 15, th­ese “Edgers” are us­ing the sum­mer months to raise a min­i­mum of $1,000 from do­na­tions to their in­di­vid­ual page on the Over The Edge NWCT web­site. The part­ner­ing non­prof­its are aim­ing for 100 Edgers or Teams of Edgers.

The three re­gional non­profit or­ga­ni­za­tions will bring their ‘fundrais­ing to new heights’ with this unique and thrilling event. Part­ner­ing with Over the Edge Global, north­west Con­necti­cut res­i­dents will be rais­ing funds and aware­ness over the next two months to have the op­por­tu­nity to rap­pel down Tor­ring­ton Tow­ers on Sat­ur­day, Sept. 16. This unique event, never be­fore pre­sented in north­west Con­necti­cut, is spon­sored by Sharon Hos­pi­tal, PAC Group LLC, O&G, with ad­di­tional sup­port from Crys­tal Rock Wa­ter, Char­lotte Hungerford Hos­pi­tal, and Litch­field Dis­tillery. It is also made pos­si­ble through the sup­port of the Tor­ring­ton Hous­ing Au­thor­ity.

For the first “Edger” to raise $5,000, Spirit Bal­loon­ing is do­nat­ing one spot on a cham­pagne, scenic bal­loon flight from one of their bal­loon ports in the area. There are other smaller in­cen­tive prizes avail­able to en­cour­age in­di­vid­u­als to sign up.

Since 2008, Over the Edge Global has helped non-prof­its raise more than $45 mil­lion and put 25,000 fundrais­ers safely ‘over the edge’. In­di­vid­u­als must raise a min­i­mum of $1,000 for the part­ner­ing non-prof­its to se­cure their rap­pelling po­si­tion. To reg­is­ter or learn more, visit https://otecwe.com/nwct/. Each of the fol­low­ing Edgers’ sto­ries has a link where friends can make a do­na­tion.

An­thony Ven­grove

An­thony Ven­grove is one of the new­est “Edgers” to sign up. He is the founder of Miles Finch In­no­va­tion and Mak­ery Cowork­ing, a col­lab­o­ra­tive work space in New Mil­ford, CT. Here is his story in his own words:

Through­out my life, I have never been scared of heights. Then 9-11 hap­pened. Per­haps it was the hor­ri­fy­ing im­ages of peo­ple jump­ing out of the build­ings that trig­gered a sense of ver­tigo when­ever I found my­self el­e­vated. Just think­ing about be­ing high up was enough to cre­ate a queasy feel­ing in my head and gut. Alarmed, I wanted to stop the fear in its tracks be­fore it lim­ited my par­tic­i­pa­tion in ac­tiv­i­ties I en­joyed for decades.

Fast for­ward a few years, I was liv­ing in Rich­mond, VA and at­tend­ing a busi­ness-net­work­ing event. A woman from Spe­cial Olympics told me about their Over the Edge fundrais­ing event, which in­volved rap­pelling down Rich­mond’s sec­ond-tallest build­ing— just over 400ft. I thought, “When would I ever get the chance to do some­thing like this?” I signed up im­me­di­ately. Soon there­after, I re­al­ized it just might be the trick to quell my in­creas­ing fear of heights. My wife thought I was nuts. Ac­tu­ally, she was a bit ticked since she was preg­nant with twins and the rap­pelling event was sched­uled three weeks be­fore her due date! Call me crazy.

The big day came and I was quite ner­vous. Truth be told, the hard­est part of the whole ex­pe­ri­ence was wait­ing on top of the roof for my turn. Once I was strapped in and moved into po­si­tion, there was a team of peo­ple guid­ing me through the prepa­ra­tion. I was fo­cused more on their in­struc­tion than any­thing else. As you can see in the pic­tures, I was re­laxed enough to smile for the cam­era!

On my way down the build­ing, I felt both ex­hil­a­ra­tion and fear. The view was beau­ti­ful, strik­ing. Yet, every so of­ten, I’d have a holy “youknow-what” mo­ment when I feared what would hap­pen if the rope broke, the backup sys­tem failed, and I fell to the con­crete be­low.

In those in­stances, I re­lied upon the sage ad­vice of Eck­hart Tolle, who sug­gests ask­ing the fol­low­ing ques­tion to pull your mind out of an egoic state into pres­ence: What is my re­la­tion­ship to the present mo­ment? When­ever a sense of panic filled my mind, ask­ing that sim­ple ques­tion pulled me back into pres­ence. The an­swer every time, of course, was that I was fine--liv­ing, breath­ing, and en­joy­ing a spec­tac­u­lar ex­pe­ri­ence!

I thor­oughly en­joyed the adren­a­line-filled trek down the build­ing and im­me­di­ately pro­claimed that I would do it again in a heart­beat. I am also happy to re­port the ex­pe­ri­ence cor­rected my grow­ing fear of heights, for the most part. I highly rec­om­mend this event to all my Con­necti­cut friends! It is a truly in­vig­o­rat­ing ex­pe­ri­ence in sup­port three won­der­ful causes in north­west Con­necti­cut. https://w w w.otecwe.com/ nwct/an­thony-ven­grove/

Jeff Ged­des

Jeff Ged­des, Se­nior Vice Pres­i­dent of Res­i­den­tial and Con­sumer Lend­ing at Tor­ring­ton Sav­ings Bank, is Go­ing Over the Edge for NWCT. He’s an ac­tive mem­ber of the com­mu­nity serv­ing on sev­eral boards. Here is his story about why he has signed up to rap­pel down Tor­ring­ton Tow­ers for the ben­e­fit of the three part­ner­ing non-prof­its:

My ini­tial re­ac­tion to rap­pelling was “No Way!” Then I at­tended the first Over the Edge in­for­ma­tion ses­sion at Prime Time House and some­thing in­side me told me to put my fear of heights aside and take ad­van­tage of this once in a life­time op­por­tu­nity. I’ve al­ways avoided heights my en­tire life but last Oc­to­ber I zip lined at my friend’s urg­ing while on va­ca­tion and I had the time of my life. The adren­a­line rush and feel­ing of ac­com­plish­ment is hard to de­scribe but I was able to over­come my fear then and I’m hop­ing I can again in Septem­ber. You don’t grow if you don’t push your bound­aries so I de­cided to chal­lenge my­self and rap­pel. It goes with­out say­ing that I am happy and proud to raise money for Prime Time House, NW CT Cham­ber Foun­da­tion and NW CT Arts Coun­cil; they all con­trib­ute to the qual­ity of life in NW CT but it’s more than that. I do have a per­sonal un­der­stand­ing of men­tal health is­sues hav­ing had peo­ple I love very much af­fected; the im­pact is im­mea­sur­able so I’m very ex­cited to sup­port Prime Time House.

Once I put my page up and sent the link out to my friends and col­leagues, the do­na­tions lit­er­ally came pour­ing in. I have a very gen­er­ous group of friends and busi­ness as­so­ci­ates. I’m so grate­ful for all the sup­port both fi­nan­cial and emo­tional. Peo­ple that know me, know this is go­ing to be a chal­lenge. They have been very en­cour­ag­ing, so I think all that sup­port makes me want to do it even more. As of now, 38 peo­ple have con­trib­uted and have helped me sur­pass my $2,000.00 goal. I’m cur­rently sit­ting at $2,125.00 and I have fi­nan­cial com­mit­ments from many oth­ers that will make do­na­tions be­fore the event. I’ll be re­ally thrilled if I hit $3,000.00.

Be­sides be­ing scared out of my mind, I’m try­ing to fo­cus on the fundrais­ing and not think­ing about go­ing over the edge. Now when I drive by the Tor­ring­ton Tow­ers I ac­tu­ally look at the build­ing and talk to it, try­ing to make friends with it and con­vinc­ing my­self it’s not that tall and that I have the courage to do it. I did pur­chase a cos­tume for the big event but I’m not re­veal­ing that un­til Septem­ber 16th. I prom­ise it won’t dis­ap­point! https://w w w.otecwe.com/ nwct/jeff-ged­des/

Jack Sheedy

Jack Sheedy is a lo­cal au­thor and jour­nal­ist who grew up in north­west Con­necti­cut. This is his story about why he is Go­ing Over the Edge, and how he is ap­proach­ing his par­tic­i­pa­tion in this event:

If I were not a mem­ber of the North­west Con­necti­cut Arts Coun­cil, I likely would not have thought about go­ing Over the Edge. I was among the first wave of vol­un­teers, sign­ing up the same day as Arts Coun­cil Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor Amy Wynn did. Also, I’ve ex­pe­ri­enced some sad­ness this past year and was look­ing for some­thing to lift my spir­its. I get to take a ride down the side of a build­ing and help hun­dreds of peo­ple who are served by three great re­gional non-prof­its!

Al­most im­me­di­ately af­ter sign­ing up, I com­posed an email ask­ing peo­ple to sup­port me. I tried to be light­hearted in my ap­proach, but also I ap­pealed to my friends’ sense of ad­ven­ture, their willing­ness to help a friend, and their ea­ger­ness to sup­port the causes that the Arts Coun­cil, Cham­ber Ed­u­ca­tion Foun­da­tion, and Prime Time House stand for. I made sure I listed on my per­sonal “Edger” page some of the ser­vices each non-profit pro­vides.

An­other idea I came up with was Din­ing for a Cause! Ninety-Nine Restau­rant in Tor­ring­ton au­tho­rized me to hand out vouch­ers to po­ten­tial din­ers on July 26 be­tween 5 p.m. and 9 p.m., when 15 per­cent of each diner’s bill will go to­ward my goal to sup­port the three non-prof­its! That is po­ten­tially sev­eral hun­dred dol­lars! Vouch­ers, I un­der­stand, are avail­able from all three non-prof­its, or from me, free for the ask­ing. I hope dozens of din­ers will join me that night.

As the big day ap­proaches, my only worry is what to wear. Spi­der Man cos­tume? King Kong? I’m open to sug­ges­tions. The act of rap­pelling doesn’t re­ally frighten me, be­cause I have con­fi­dence in the Over the Edge pro­fes­sion­als. I look for­ward to be­ing part of one of the most spec­tac­u­lar events ever wit­nessed live by po­ten­tially thou­sands of by­standers in Tor­ring­ton, an event that will ben­e­fit thou­sands, an event that will be talked about for years to come!

I am al­ready half-way to­ward my $1,500 goal, even though I only am re­quired to raise $1,000. I could use a few more do­na­tions! If peo­ple aren’t able to come to Din­ing for a Cause on June 26, I hope they will go to my OTE page and make a do­na­tion. https://www.otecwe.com/nwcon­necti­cut/jack­sheedy/

Kerry Palmer

Kerry Palmer sur­passed her goal with 38 small do­na­tions from friends and fam­ily and col­leagues. Here is her story in her own words:

A co­worker gave me the in­for­ma­tion on the event and said to me “this has your name all over it.” I chose to par­tic­i­pate be­cause I live, work and play in Tor­ring­ton. This awe­some event has come to our town and I was not go­ing to miss it. This is go­ing to be a fun day for Tor­ring­ton and I’m hop­ing the com­mu­nity comes out to sup­port the event and then sup­port our down­town shops and restau­rants, I know I’m go­ing for a beer and truf­fle fries at Sawyers once I have landed safely on the ground.

I think I gained sup­port for Edg­ing, be­cause I made it clear that do­nat­ing was not for me but for our com­mu­nity. And I wasn’t shy - I put it out there. I did mul­ti­ple Face­book blasts. $1,000 is a chal­lenge to raise, and I am blessed with won­der­ful fam­ily and friends. Peo­ple were so in­cred­i­bly gen­er­ous. I think they rec­og­nized this as a unique ex­pe­ri­ence and wanted to be part of it. Par­tic­i­pants who are skep­ti­cal about be­ing able to reach their goal should reach out to fam­ily and friends and stress the im­por­tance of the or­ga­ni­za­tions that the event will sup­port. I took the in­for­ma­tion from the sam­ple let­ter that the or­ga­niz­ers

pro­vided, re­worded it and made it my own.

My thoughts on the day...Let’s get T-Town on the news! Bring in folks to watch and make do­na­tions that day. Then shop and dine down­town!

My thoughts on rap­pelling...Oh my gosh what have i got­ten my­self into??!!! I’m not a fan of heights, but I can’t wait to shout WOO-HOO on my way down!

( https://www.otecwe.com/nwct/kerry-palmer/ )

CON­TRIB­UTED PHO­TOS

An­thony Ven­grove

Kerry Palmer

Jack Sheedy

Jeff Ged­des

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