A crew with “Good Morning America” was expected Friday afternoon to film the bride who was one of nearly 100 people to rappel off the Suntrust Building in downtown Chattanooga this week.
Meredith Lewallen originally rappelled Thursday for the RiverRocks and Boy Scouts of America fundraiser, but when “Good Morning America” called, organizers and the bride-to-be worked Friday afternoon to make it happen again.
“I think that just calls attention to what a wonderful place we live in in Chattanooga and calls attention to what’s around this area,” Adrian Hackett, assistant scout executive COO for the Cherokee Area Council, Boy Scouts of America, said.
The Over the Edge event gave participants the opportunity to rappel 20 stories off the downtown building.
Hackett said he thinks it will become an annual event.
He wasn’t sure Friday afternoon how much money they had raised, but he said the funds will help support Boy Scout programs throughout the entire community, from supporting a 2,400-acre reservation in Grundy County to helping the group’s inner-city outreach program.
“We’re also partnered with River Rocks, so money goes to land conservation,” he said. “So it’s a mix between two nonprofits here in Chattanooga.”
Participants arrived at the lobby of the Suntrust Building to sign consent and release forms Friday morning. After signing in, they went to the 13th floor, and some couldn’t help pointing out the potential for bad luck on that floor.
But that wasn’t where the rappelling happened. That was just the area in which Over the Edge guides helped participants suit up.
Over the Edge events have been conducted all across North America, according to the RiverRocks website. Since 2003, the team of professionals has guided participants through the experience, and the team has a perfect safety record, also according to the site.
After participants suited up in the rappelling gear, they went to the roof of the building to practice.
There was a relatively small structure that was about 10 or 15 feet high for participants to practice on. Guides talked each person through the process, and after that, it was time for the real thing.
Several people said the scariest part was getting on the outside of the building to start the descent down. That involved sitting on a ledge 20 stories high-about 280 feet-and then maneuvering to a small ledge on the outside of the building.
Once participants were standing on the outside ledge, facing the building, the guides talked them through the process of sitting back and starting the move downward.
This event was one of more than 90 RiverRocks events taking place through Oct. 14.
Dave Santucci, vice president of marketing at the Chattanooga Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, said all the events happening this weekend have done incredible things for tourism and that he hopes the momentum carries through the month.
“We are just really optimistic that this is just going to be a great October,” he said.