Click here to view more photos from the "Over the Edge" fundraiser.
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If your mom jumped off the roof of a 30-floor building, would you follow?
Deborah Wente did.
Her eyes were big. She shook her head. “Whoo,” went Wente, 18. And down she went.
The mother-daughter duo were among the 63 people who rappelled Saturday down the Woodmen Tower in the Over the Edge fundraiser for the Boys Scouts' Mid-America Council.
Participants had to raise $1,000 apiece in cash and pledges. The event generated about $60,000, said Kate Hansen, fundraising executive for the Mid-America Council.
Wente and her mother, Shelly Owen, wanted to participate because Owen's husband, Spencer, works for Woodmen of the World, the insurance firm in downtown Omaha's Woodmen Tower.
They had another motive for participating, too.
“We want the adrenaline rush,” Shelly Owen said.
The two, plus friend Sara Bridges, received a lesson in rappelling from trainer Darien Dopp. Hansen contracts for rappelling expertise with Over the Edge USA.
“You don't have to be nervous,” Dopp told the three. “We haven't dropped anybody in . . .'' and he looked at his watch. This funny man told them how to use the cables and other equipment that would hold them as they descended.
They encountered some of Owen's friends before they boarded the elevator. Wente and Owen, Texans who came to Omaha a year ago when Spencer Owen received a promotion, have Texas in their vocal cords.
“I just want y'all to know, I love y'all,” Owen told her friends.
From the roof, they looked for miles to the north and east. Council Bluffs and beyond looked like a green carpet.
The sound of a siren rose softly from ground level.
“That's all I want to hear right now,” Wente said. “Ambulance, fire truck.”
The experts hooked the three to cables and gave them final instructions. Owen looked over the edge. Her daughter joined her.
Mom reached over, but Wente, a Millard West junior, didn't want hands on her as she looked over the ledge. “Stay over there,” Wente said.
It takes 10 to 25 minutes for a beginner to descend the 25 stories down to floor five, where Over the Edge concludes because a landing juts out there from the tower. Hooked to thin cables, Owen disappeared over the edge, smiling.
“Go Shelly!” yelled Bridges. Then it was Wente's turn.
About 20 minutes later, the two touched down.
“Whoo,” Owen said. “Man, weak legs.”
“My hands hurt. My arm hurts,” Wente said.
They went to the edge of the landing and looked at their friends and family members below. They put their thumbs up.
“We did it, D!” said the mom. “It's all over.”
Wente said: “I wanna do it again.”
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