UPDATED: After 1 full week of fighting the elements Kevin Fitzpatrick descended from the roof of Patriot Subaru in Saco after reaching a fundraising goal of $30,000 for Strive U.
SACO, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- James Taylor sang about it in his song "up on the roof"....and a Maine man has taken it to heart. Beginning Thursday, he is up on a rooftop and he vows he won't come down until he reaches his fundraising goal for a group that's special to him.
"We're ready to go!" said Kevin Fitzpatrick as he loads up a cherry picker to carry his tent, cooler, bedding and other supplies to the rooftop of Patriot Subaru on Route 1 in Saco. It’s a unique camping trip; one he’s been on before.
"I got up at 4:30 this morning, showered, and I was just home, and took another shower because it will be $30,000 from now before I can do that again," he explained.
Kevin Fitzpatrick's willing to forgo his daily showers out of love for Strive U, a program that provides social, educational employment training plus post- secondary opportunities for teens and young adults. "Primarily developmental, intellectual disabilities--things like Down Syndrome, autism, really the spectrum of intellectual disabilities," shared Pete Wood, Executive Director of the South Portland-based Strive U. Wood has been with Strive since the beginning. They currently serve over 950 young people--with a goal of helping them to become independent. "I think a misconception might be that people can't do as much as they can, that our members with some training and education can really be productive members of society, can hold jobs, can be really productive employees," Wood explained. “And really be contributing members of our community rather than just being reliant and dependent on it.”
Wood calls Fitzpatrick “an incredible person” who has become a vital member of the Strive support community. “He met some of our Strive members several years ago now actually and was just really impressed by their dedication and I think what the organization does for these young people and their families that this would be a great way to give back and raise awareness of what Strive does,” Wood said.
I ask Kevin if he is ready for six days or more on the roof. Has he had enough sleep? He confides that he hasn’t been sleeping well and looks forward to sleeping better up on the roof. I ask him whether he’s done any carb loading to prepare. “You know, that comes. It's practically all I'll eat when I'm up there. I’ve got my protein bars, Atkins bars."
Truth is, he's packed a little bit of everything, enough to sustain him until he's reached his goal. There's no rulebook for rooftop fundraising yet Kevin Fitzpatrick could author that one. After all, it's his fourth time doing this for Strive.
But, in trademark deprecating humor, Fitzpatrick downplays his role in this important endeavor. The roof-raiser represents one of Strives biggest fundraisers each year. And it all started with Kevin Fitzpatrick, an idea and a passion to help a group he says has become incredibly important to him. “It could be Kevin Fitzpatrick, it could be a monkey. You put someone on the roof to help strive and raise a goal, we're going to get whoever it is down, because it's really more about strive than anything else," he shared. "It's just such a pleasure to be a small part of what they do."