Ho'okele Staff | Nov 19, 2011
The Special Olympics kicked off its winter season with its third annual Over the Edge of Waikiki fundraising event Nov. 5. Volunteers, including local military members, supported the event.
Members from all military branches gave their time and money. Eight Sailors from Navy Information Operations Detachment (NIOD) in Kaneohe Bay made the event a command volunteer day.
Information Systems Technician 1st Class Ash Ortiz spoke of the importance of his command’s participation. “This is a great cause and great way to give back. The experience is very valuable to everyone involved,” Ortiz said.
Over the Edge is an event created by a U.S.based company that specializes in developing unique fundraising events for non-profit organizations. It is an opportunity for action junkies and thrill seekers to support a worthy cause.
A total of 120 volunteers rappelled 31 stories down the Sheraton Waikiki. All profits support the Holiday Classic state games that will take place at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam and Kaneohe Bay Marine Corps bases in December.
Each rappeller or group of rappellers raised a minimum of $1,000 in donations. This year, Over the Edge brought in $130,000 to support athletes of Special Olympics Hawaii.
Robert Johnson, a former Marine captain, was a rappeller in this year’s event. “Going Over the Edge and rappelling over 300 feet was a real rush and knowing that it was to support the Special Olympics just made it that much better,” Johnson said.
A total of 41 military personnel lent a helping hand to show support to the Special Olympics and more than 800 local athletes who will be participating in the Holiday Classic.
Throughout the day, volunteers were seen around the Sheraton wearing white or yellow T-shirts with “Volunteer for Over the Edge of Waikiki” printed on their backs. Each volunteer’s presence kept the event running safely and smoothly.
Volunteers were tasked with jobs small and large. They staffed the registration table. They handed out name tags, lunch cards, T-shirts and all other necessary documents for participants. They also escorted rappellers, issued safety equipment, and managed rappelling lines.
Volunteers were assigned and dispersed through the area to ensure that all needs were met in order for the event to be a success.
According to Kyle Karioka, Special Olympics development manager, military participation was much larger than in past events. “Whether it is presenting medals to our athletes at State Games, raising funds by going Over the Edge, or volunteering at competitions, military personnel have helped touch the lives of thousands of athletes with intellectual disabilities in Hawaii,” Karioka said.
NIOD Kaneohe Bay Cryptologic Technician Interpretive 1st Class John-Mark Allen praised the event and the opportunity it affords those who are interested in supporting this cause. “It is because of the Special Olympics’ active involvement in the community that I am able to find the opportunities to give back. These athletes are very deserving of mine and my Shipmates’ time and energy,” Allen said.
“I know that we are all very happy to give it and are equally rewarded by the experience.”