Over the Edge: United Way event raises $176K

Staff photos by adam Urquhart Nashua Police Department Deputy Chief Michael Carignan smiles wide as he glances up while rappelling in Manchester on Friday.

MANCHESTER – An even 100 rappellers descended from Brady Sullivan Plaza in Manchester Friday during the Live United “Over the Edge” event.

United Way of Greater Nashua President Mike Apfelberg said officials are grateful for the support from the community, many donors and volunteers, people who went over the edge and the agencies they partner with throughout the year. He also thanked those with Brady Sullivan Properties for providing the venue.

From prominent politicians to those involved with nonprofits, many descended down one of New Hampshire’s tallest buildings, all while coming together to raise money.

Apfelberg said among the 2,138 donors, they were able to go above their goal of $175,000, reaching upwards of $176,000, with at least another $1,000 to $2,000 left to be factored in, resulting in a little more than a 25 percent increase compared to last year.

He said at the end of the event, Arthur Sullivan made a donation on behalf of Brady Sullivan Properties, with $1,000 going to Nashua’s Adult Learning Center.

Participants reached the top of the building during the course of the day, with Gov. Chris Sununu and Kelly Ayotte, a former Republican U.S. senator from New Hampshire, starting things off around 8 a.m. They set the tone for the day, having been some of the first to gear up and travel up an elevator to the 20th floor before exiting and walking up another two stories to reach the top of the tower. Once on top of the roof, they and everyone going over the edge went through a brief training session on how to sit back into the harness and correctly make the rappel. After training, participants waited to get their harnesses clipped in. With three rappelling stations, participants were cycled through in a timely manner, some even racing each other as they neared the ground level. While some had second thoughts as their heels rested over the edge, moments before making the descent, others wore costumes, and were eager to work their way to the bottom. Apfelberg was one of the few who dressed up, sporting a stylish Star Trek outfit, as he made his way down near the end of Friday’s event.

“It was actually a lot scarier this time because last time I had no idea what to expect, so I didn’t have that fear factor,” Apfelberg said. “I’ve always been afraid of heights, really deathly afraid of heights, and last year, I did it at the last minute in support of my daughter doing it. We went over the edge at the same time, that was kind of a dad thing to do, and I was thinking more of her and her fears then. This year was a totally different story.”

He said he made the mistake of watching the video of himself rappelling last year, which reminded him of how terrifying it was. He reached about two-thirds of the way to the bottom, he started thinking he may actually survive.

“We are meant to be on the ground – it’s the way we’re designed,” Apfelberg jokingly said.

Adam Urquhart can be reached at 594-1206 or aurquhart@nashuatelegraph.com.