Rappelling for dollars: $174K raised for United Way by volunteers with no fear of heights

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Hannah Pierce was really far off the ground at this moment, not even halfway down the side Brady Sullivan building on Elm Street. (credit – Andrew Sylvia)

MANCHESTER, N.H. – Anyone driving through the downtown via Elm Street on Friday might have done a double take, but people really were climbing their way down the Brady-Sullivan Plaza building.

The United Way of Greater Nashua and Granite United Way raised over $174,000 for New Hampshire non-profit organizations as part of the event, which allowed local fundraisers to experience repelling down the 259-foot structure.

Despite the fact that those participating in the event had no training prior to an hour just before they made their descent, professional climbers from Over the Edge Global were able to maintain their perfect safety record, which has seen them help people repel down several hundred buildings across North America.

Indeed, the group of those descending included participants as old as 86.

“It’s safer to repel down a building than it is to find a spot to park in Manchester,” said Mike Afpelberg, president of the United Way of Greater Nashua.

This marks the third year that the two United Way organizations have held the event in Manchester, holding true to a commitment for unique and innovative fundraising events, such as an annual obstacle course race done in Nashua.

“Our goal is to do fundraising that doesn’t compete with any other non-profit’s events,” said Afpelberg. “You’ll never see us doing a 5K or a golf tournament or an annual gala. If we did that, we’d step on another non-profit’s toes. So, I saw this and thought it was really different.”

One of this year’s participants was Hannah Pierce of Rise Private Wealth Management of Bedford.

Later in the day, she and her co-workers traveled to volunteer at a garden for the Granite State Food Bank, one of two volunteering days her company holds each year.

“It was scary. The hardest part was them telling you to sit down and hang over the edge of the building,” she said. “It was tough, I’m glad I did it. It was definitely something notable for 2019.”

More information about the United Way of Greater Nashua is available at unitedwaynashua.org


About this Author

Andrew Sylvia

Assistant EditorManchester Ink Link

Born and raised in the Granite State, Andrew Sylvia has written approximately 10,000 pieces over his career for outlets across Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont. On top of that, he's a licensed notary and licensed to sell property, casualty and life insurance, he's been a USSF trained youth soccer and futsal referee for the past six years and he can name over 60 national flags in under 60 seconds according to that flag game app he has on his phone, which makes sense because he also has a bachelor's degree in geography (like Michael Jordan). He can also type over 100 words a minute on a good day.