By Michele DeLuca firstname.lastname@example.org
Niagara Gazette — Three siblings joined their wheelchair-bound brother in a descent down the side of the Seneca Niagara Casino and Hotel on Friday as part of a fundraiser for the Special Olympics.
Joseph Dubreville, of Hamburg, made the roped trek down all 27 stories of the building with a professional rappelling expert hanging just above him as a safety measure.
“I feel good,” he said after his journey. “It was a lot of fun.”
For Joe’s mother, Mary, watching four of her five children go down the side of the building made her “anxious but not nervous.”
“Joe’s been a daredevil all his life, as they all have,” she said. “They’ve conditioned me.”
The entire family, including brothers, Joe, John, Jim and Justin, sister, Renee, and mother, Mary, wore T-shirts that read: “Team Dubreville, Over the Edge.” The family raised $3,000 for Special Olympics and brother, John, said the adventure brought the family closer together.
“We’re celebrating as a family,” John said. “What we learned is that it really takes a team and we celebrated it together by doing something for the Special Olympics.”
Renee came in from Jacksonville, Fla. to join her family.
“I absolutely hate heights,” she said. “But, to see what Joe endured going over the edge, I thought there was no reason I couldn’t do it.”
Renee also expressed the family’s thanks to all who contributed to their fundraising.
Amy Neveaux, Special Olympics coordinator for the event, estimated that approximately 80 participants helped raise about $100,000 during Friday’s event. Other participants included former professional wrestler, The Destroyer Dick Beyers, Towne Automotive President Frank Downing and Special Olympics athletes Kevin Lowes, Nick Zmuda and Vince Golda.
Joe Dubreville, a 46-year-old father of three, was a supervisor and special agent with Immigration and Customs Enforcement for Homeland Security, before he was injured in 2012 in a freak accident during a backyard ball game. He is currently recovering from a traumatic brain injury, but today’s event left the entire family feeling very optimistic.
When asked if he do it again, Joe replied, “Hopefully, next year.”