Passion to help others leads to some to reach new heights. In this case, a Saco, Maine auto dealership’s roof top.
Kevin Fitzpatrick, a UPS employee in Maine has place in his heart for an organization called STRIVE, which is dedicated to helping teens and young adults who struggle with developmental disability. Fund raising is always important, but equally so was the need to raise awareness for the STRIVE program. So he decided to take things up a notch, and do something unique. Read more about STRIVE at the tail end of this story.
On September 1, Kevin climbed to the top of Patriot Subaru in Saco, ME. He was equipped with the essential camping gear – tent, sleeping bag, change of clothes, non–perishable food items. He vowed not to come down until $30,000 was raised from donations provided by the community. Great idea! Except, who’s going to know? And, just how long was he willing to stay? After all, Kevin was employed by UPS. They supported the idea, but how long would he be out of work?
Great view, but not much to do!
The plan was for donations to be made via people visiting Patriot Subaru, texting KEVIN to 71777, or using an online mobile app. For each $10 donated, the donor would receive a raffle ticket good for prizes from sponsors. $1000 gift card to Irving Oil, $500 Gift Card to LLBean, camping gear from Kittery Trading Post, gift cards to Ground Round, Smitty’s Cinema, and Funtown USA. Assistants from STRIVE would be at the ground desk most of the daytime hours. The nights, were all Kevin. During those hours, if a donor came to the store, Kevin would lower his bucket to receive the donation.
Kevin Fitzgerald lowers his bucket for donations to STRIVE from the roof of Patriot Subaru.
The Labor Day weekend weather was beautiful, and the community was more interest in the beach and backyard BBQ’s. Donations came slowly. Through that following Tuesday afternoon, a full 5 days, donations had inched forward to about $8000. Not bad, but at this rate, he’d be on the roof for a month! Then it clicked. With curious TV stations reporting, radio stations pleading his case to “bring him down”, and a barrage of social media sharing, the drive to bring him down from his perch began in earnest. By Thursday noon, the “thermometer” moved past the $30,000 mark goal! 169 hours elapsed time, but the goal had been accomplished. Donations kept coming, finally topping out at $32,480 as Kevin climbed down to the cheers of family, friends, STRIVE associates and the entire Patriot Subaru team.
Kevin nearing the end of his 169 hours on the roof of Patriot Subaru.
Notably, the dollar amount was a huge boost to the STRIVE program. Equally, if not more, was the amount of coverage and awareness that came from the media. Says Kevin, “Each time we do this it gets attention, and families that can benefit from the programs STRIVE has to offer learn about it, as well as get involved. It’s twofold – money and awareness.”
Finally back on the ground, Kevin was asked what he was going to do first. “I’m going home to take a shower.” said Kevin. “Make that about 3 showers!”
STRIVE is actually an acronym: Socialization, Transition, Reflection, Innovation, Vocation, Education. Based iin South Portland, Maine, the focus is to address the varied issues faced by tweens, teens and adults (ages 11-24) with developmental disabilities. This includes programs that assist in developing fundamental academic skills, building leadership potential, bettering economic opportunities via continuing education, and improving work related skills. The long range goals are to enable these young folks to become more integrated into the community, with a sense of pride, ownership, and confidence.