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Daredevil of a fundraiser in St. Paul will help Scouts

  • Article by: ROCHELLE OLSON
  • Star Tribune
  • June 28, 2012 - 1:40 PM

Those who dream of dangling from a building 300 feet above downtown St. Paul can make their wish come true this fall.

Would-be Spidermen and women need only raise $1,000 in donations to participate in what is being called the Boy Scouts Double-Dog Dare Off-the-Wall Challenge. Anyone who jumps at the opportunity will take the easy way, an elevator, to the top of the Ecolab Corporate Center, then rappel down the 22-story building to the plaza below.

No experience is necessary, but anyone who weighs more than 300 pounds can't participate.

The event, on Sept. 7, benefits the Northern Star Council, Boy Scouts of America.

Chris Gemlo, 47, a Realtor and volunteer firefighter in Golden Valley, signed on early because his 12-year-old son, Jake Gemlo, is a Scout with Troop 534. Gemlo is within striking distance of raising $1,000. Jake wanted to join him but is too young.

"It looked like something that would be a once-in-a-lifetime thing, a bucket list thing," Gemlo said, then added with a laugh, "Well, hopefully, more than once in a lifetime."

Gemlo described himself as not being fearful but having a "healthy respect" for heights and rappelling. "As long as you hold on, there's nothing bad that's going to happen," he said.

Over the Edge, an insured rappelling organization, is co-producing the event.

John Marshall, who chairs the committee organizing the event for the Scouts, said Over the Edge is a professional outfitter that complies with federal and state workplace health laws and has staged similar events across the country without injury.

"We like to play up the fear factor, but it's completely safe," said Marshall, who missed Eagle Scout himself by one rank many years ago.

Richard Neuner, Northern Star Council president, said Scouts will get the money while participants get "the thrill of a lifetime." The council is hoping to get about 80 entrants, who need not have participated in scouting.

The North Star Council works with 75,000 boys and girls in 21 counties in central Minnesota and four counties in western Wisconsin.

To register go to www.CraziestFundraiserEver.org.

To donate to Gemlo, go to www.startribune.com/a1447.

Rochelle Olson • 651-925-5035 Twitter: @rochelleolson

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