Roughly 30 local elected officials, city workers and volunteers overcame their fear of heights by rappelling down the Norm Dicks Government Center Saturday in Bremerton to support the Over the Edge fundraiser for Kitsap Strong
Kitsap Strong, a community initiative to improve the health and well-being of children, family, and adults, raised $47, 855 in donations from the event, according to kitsapstrong.org. Participants were each asked to raise $1,000 in funds, either individually or as part of a team.
The nonprofit organization, which serves as a branch of the Kitsap Community Foundation, works with over 100 organizations in the local community to create a process and environment where agencies can come together to discuss complex social issues.
Notable elected officials who participated in the rappelling this year included Kitsap County Commissioner Ed Wolfe, Bremerton Mayor Greg Wheeler, former Bremerton Mayor Patty Lent, and Bainbridge Island Mayor and President of the Kitsap Community Foundation Kol Medina.
“They’re doing it because they care about Kitsap Strong and they understand what Kitsap Strong does for the community, so they want to support it,” Medina said about having so many elected officials participate in the rappelling. “It means a lot that our elected leaders understand Kitsap Strong and want to help.”
The act of abseiling down seven stories required a great deal of mental fortitude and preparation for many of the donors.
“We’re scaring the dickens out of ourselves,” Medina said about rappelling down the Norm Dicks Government Center. “I’m terribly afraid of heights but I did it, I guess that’s leadership.”
This is the first fundraiser ever conducted by Kitsap Strong and the idea is credited to Carl Borg, executive director of United Way of Kitsap County, who decided to bring the fundraiser to Kitsap County after watching a similar event elsewhere.
“I think we will do it again next year, we will see how it goes,” Medina said.
Over the Edge was founded in 2003 and has helped raise over $95 million for nonprofit partners across the globe since 2008, according to the group’s Facebook page. The adventure experience company’s mission is to lead people and organizations outside their comfort zone for a positive impact.
Medina said the turnout wasn’t as great as he’d hoped for, as there could have been about 60 more donors participating.