By Bonnie Adams Government Editor
Westborough – Like most fathers, Roy Meyer of Westborough would go to any length for his kids. But July 23 he didn's just “talk the talk; he walked the walk” – down 22 floors, as a matter of fact. On that day Meyer was one of 100 brave souls who rappelled 22 floors down the side of the Hyatt Regency in Boston as part of the Special Olympics Massachusetts (SOMA) “Over the Edge” fund-raiser.
Meyer's daughter Katie, 21, is a Special Olympics athlete who has participated in a number of events, including swimming, gymnastics, soccer and basketball.
“Currently she plays golf and skis,” Roy said. “Katie is very outgoing, likes going to the movies [she's a Harry Potter fan], likes to ride her bike, swim and loves to go out to dinner.”
Meyer, who with his wife Nancy also has a 23-year old son, Brian, is the director of Software Quality Assurance at CA Technologies. He has also coached the Shrewsbury Special Olympics golf and ski teams and has been an avid advocate for SOMA. So when he heard about this unique fund-raiser, he “immediately signed up,” he said, even though he had never done anything like this before.
“I really wanted to help raise money for Special Olympics of Massachusetts and it sounded like a fun event,” he said.
As he noted on his fund-raising page for the event, “individuals with intellectual disabilities face their fears every day and Special Olympics has been there helping them to do that for over 40 years.”
The reaction from his family and friends was mixed.
“They were excited that I was doing it,” he said, “but some friends did ask, “What, are you nuts?””
Surprisingly, there was not a lot of preparation required ahead of time for the event. Meyer said the organization running the event, The Over the Edge Company, helped the participants learn what to do and had them do a practice run of rappelling down two floors first. Rappellers also wore safety harnesses and helmets as part of their gear. Another CA employee Jenna Fahey joined him that day.
And in spite of the thought of starting up so high atop the hotel, Meyer claimed he was not nervous, just excited.
“I was really looking forward to it since I had never done anything like this before,” he said. “After letting go of the railing and starting the rappel down, it was unbelievable. It was a lot of fun.”
As he descended, Katie and the other Special Olympics athletes were on his mind.
“I was hoping they would have it next year so I could do it again and raise more money for SOMA,” he said.
For the event, each rappeller was required to raise $1,000. Meyer had set a goal of reaching $2,000 – he ended up raising $8,575, he said, thanks to “the generous donations from family, friends, co-workers and the company-matching program.”
“They are having the event next year due to its success, and I will be doing it again,” he said.