By Laura Hayes, Senior Community Reporter
WESTBOROUGH – Two Westborough Police Department officers will be scaling down the side of the Hyatt Regency Boston on Oct. 30 as part of Special Olympics Massachusetts’ “Over the Edge” fundraiser.
Officers Joe Cibotti and Laura Rossi make up Westborough Police Team BLUE.
This will be the second time that Cibotti has participated in Over the Edge.
The first time was nerve-racking, Cibotti said in a recent interview.
“You get the top, and again, for the height the Hyatt’s at, you look over the edge, and even though you’re attached to the safety harness, and you get your safety briefing, it does take your breath away for that split second,” he said.
Officer connects with Special Olympics
According to Special Olympics’ website, the police will rappel over 200 feet down the side of the Hyatt’s 22-story building.
Cibotti is the Special Olympics liaison for the police department.
When Cibotti was at La Salle College, one of his coworkers had a son with autism. That coworker got him involved in Special Olympics, starting with the group’s Torch Run.
Cibotti also handed out medals at events.
One day after Cibotti started at Westborough Police Department, he saw cruisers driving down the Mass. Pike. He learned that Special Olympics holds a specific Torch Run for law enforcement.
“Law enforcement is intertwined with Special Olympics, it’s one of their big supporters of the group,” Cibotti said.
‘You have to trust yourself a little bit’
He raised nearly $1,400 when he participated last year.
It wasn’t his first time rappelling.
“I’ve done some rappelling when I was a little younger,” he said. “Just here and there, you want to try something out. Much smaller scale.”
Vastly surpassing those smaller scale challenges last year, Cibotti remembers taking a deep breath to refocus and calm his nerves.
“You have to trust yourself a little bit,” he said. “You have to have some confidence in the equipment, the safety situation, but you also have to have a little bit of confidence in yourself as well to be like, ‘You know what, I think I can do this,’” Cibotti said.
Officers continue fundraising efforts
Anyone who raises a minimum of $1,000 can rappel.
All of the proceeds from this fundraiser go toward Special Olympics.
“It’s a great way for [Special Olympics athletes] to celebrate an athletic feat or just being part of the community,” Cibotti said.
Individuals can donate to Westborough’s team at tinyurl.com/ksjxm6yh.