Extreme Edge to host benefit for veterans

First-ever fundraiser for local group founded by Joe Tompkins

Posted: Friday, January 30, 2009

The Extreme Edge Foundation, a national nonprofit based in Juneau, will host its first-ever fundraiser at 7 p.m. tonight at Centennial Hall. Called "A Night for Wounded Warriors," the event is a benefit for disabled and wounded veterans.

"I thought of this event as a way to introduce ourselves to Juneau - to let them know that we are here to help," said Maggie Ferguson, event planner for the Extreme Edge Foundation.

According to Ferguson, many of the foundation's directors and members live throughout the United States, but it is based out of Juneau because its founder, Joe Tompkins, also Ferguson's brother-in-law, was born and raised here.

"I just know that Juneau is probably one of the best cities I've lived in," Tompkins said, "because when something goes wrong, whether its national or personal, Juneau gets out there and supports, they come together as a community and help."

Tompkins, an avid skier, was paralyzed in a 1988 car accident. He has since competed in skiing competitions worldwide, including the Winter Paralympics, and holds the title of fifth best mono-skier in the U.S. and twelfth best in the world. According to the Extreme Edge Web site, he started the foundation to help others reach their goals regardless of their disabilities.

"His is the vision and ideology that propels the Extreme Edge Foundation," Ferguson said. "It is my hope that the success of this event will bring the Extreme Edge Foundation to a level where we will be able to promote ourselves as an organization that can turn our hard work and the charity of our supporters into much-needed aid for our Alaskan communities."

For tonight's fundraiser, the foundation enlisted the help of Abby LaForce-Roha and Tom Roha, from Abby's Kitchen & Catering, who will prepare a complimentary gourmet dessert bar.

"Abby and Tom are extremely generous having donated a portion of their fees to benefit Alaska's wounded and disabled veterans," Ferguson said. "They really are helping us out a great deal."

In addition, Marlintini's will provide a cash bar and local student Alex Marvel will entertain on piano and guitar.

"Alex is not only a very talented musician but he plays in a way that makes everyone in the room want to know who he is and what he's thinking," Ferguson praised. "Alex has gained quite a following by playing on weekends in the Bubble Room at the Baranof Hotel."

Also on tonight's agenda is a silent auction, which will include, among many other items, a six-person dinner party with customized menu by David Moorehead, executive chef of the Gold Room at the Baranof Hotel.

"I had the idea to have a silent auction but to also make it a special occasion by including the fancy desserts, the bar for cocktails and the live music," Ferguson said of the night's festivities.

Other auction items include personal ski lessons with Tompkins, Seattle Opera tickets, jewelry and art from local artists, snowboards and Living Covenant Ministries wedding gift certificates.

"I feel this event is a new and unique format," Ferguson said. "It's something I haven't seen in Juneau before."

Ferguson is excited for tonight's benefit and hopes the best for the foundation.

"It's going to be the kind of night that anyone can enjoy - you can bring the kids or you could treat yourselves and get a babysitter," she said. "Everyone will have a great time, especially since it's for such a timely and worthwhile cause."

• Contact Neighbors editor Kim Andree at 523-2272 or kimberly.andree@juneauempire.com.

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