Bethany Children’s Home ‘Edgers’ Rappel from the Clouds to Raise Funds

The Rev. Corinne Dautrich, interim pastor of St. Paul’s UCC in Pottstown, Pa., prepares to rappel in style down the 18 stories.

Participants in the 2018 Over the Edge (OTE) fund raiser for the UCC’s Bethany Children’s Home in Womelsdorf, Pa., reached new heights at the Sept. 21 event as they rappelled down 18 stories to greet cheering fans below.

The third annual event — which even drew Spiderman — was held at Abraham Lincoln Towers in Reading, Pa., a switch from the five-story 525 Student Apartments, site of the two previous events. The Towers is the tallest independently-owned building in Berks County, Pa.

The new location appealed to participants. “They were able to spend more time experiencing the rappel,” says Meggan Kerber, executive director of the Berks Arts Council and consultant to Bethany. “As they got comfortable on the lines, they were able to stop and take in the views of the City of Reading and their friends and colleagues cheering below. Many nervous or anxious participants overcame their fears to take on this new challenge. There was excitement in the air all day long.”

Each of the 64 participants raised a minimum of $1,000 for the honor of rappelling down the apartment building. In addition to Spiderman (Sean Moretti of Lower Alsace Township, who rappelled in full costume along with his daughter, Corinne Hauk), distinguished area rappellers included State Senator David G. Argall (R-Berks/Schuylkill), Peter W. Schmehl, a retired judge; and Chris Kaag, founder of the IM ABLE Foundation.

Jennifer Matten was one of the 64 Edgers who helped make 2018 OTE for Bethany a success.

Organizers decided on the new venue in order to keep the event lively and draw in new participants. “We knew that in order to engage new participants and to encourage our past participants to return, we needed to go to new heights,” says Kerber. Abraham Lincoln Towers fit the bill.

As in past years, an official OTE Basecamp was set up, this time on the parking deck of the Towers, as well as along the street below the building. “We had a crowd all day cheering on our Edgers,” including not just family, friends, and colleagues, but also community officials, Kerber adds.

The monies raised through this year’s event will support life skills development programs for the youth served by Bethany Children’s Home, says Carolyn S. Spano, Bethany’s director of development. “We are excited to announce that the Edgers have raised $110,000 for Bethany Children’s Home through Over the Edge this year.”

At a special Tribute Breakfast Sept. 28, the three top fundraisers were announced. Din Rush, a local community advocate, was third, raising $4,475; the Rev. Corinne Dautrich, interim pastor at St. Paul’s UCC in Pottstown, Pa., was second, raising $5,420; and Betty Coogan from Lansdale, Pa. — and a 78-year-old friend of Bethany — was first, raising $7,800.

The breakfast also honored three individuals/groups for their service to Bethany Children’s Home. Carl Bloss, who was raised at Bethany along with his brother, received the 2018 Children’s Award for his work to preserving the history of Bethany and creating its archives. The Bethany Ladies Committee also received a Children’s Award for their countless hours of service to Bethany over the past 132 years. Ronald L. Bashore, a long-time Bethany volunteer, received the Harold A. Henning Spirit Award, given in recognition of his compassion for developing and empowering others.

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