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JUNEAU - Joe Tompkins' life motto is "If you're not on the edge, you're not living."
On the Edge: Joe Tompkins' Extreme Edge Foundation raises funds for disabled veterans 012809 NEWS 2 CCW Staff Writer JUNEAU - Joe Tompkins' life motto is "If you're not on the edge, you're not living."

Photo Courtesy Of Jessica Tidswell

Paralyzed from the waist down, Joe Tompkins is a two-time Winter Paralympian and offers support to other disabled athletes.


Photo Courtesy Of Jessica Tidswell

Paralyzed from the waist down, Joe Tompkins is a two-time Winter Paralympian and offers support to other disabled athletes.

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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Story last updated at 1/28/2009 - 1:46 pm

On the Edge: Joe Tompkins' Extreme Edge Foundation raises funds for disabled veterans

JUNEAU - Joe Tompkins' life motto is "If you're not on the edge, you're not living."

After a car crash at age 18, Tompkins was left paralyzed and unable to use his legs. Thanks to the Juneau Lions Disabled Ski Program and local and Native Corporation donations, he was able to pursue athletic goals that may not have been possible otherwise. He is now a two time Winter Paralympian and carries the title of the fifth best mono-skier in the United States, twelfth best in the world.

Tompkins is the founder and chief executive officer of the Extreme Edge Foundation, which is holding its first public fundraiser this Friday, Jan. 30 at 7 pm. at Centennial Hall. The event will feature live music, a cash bar, catered desserts and a silent auction.

"I want to help as many people as I can," Tompkins said. Though he is focusing on working with the disabled and wounded soldiers, his hopes are to help all kinds of people achieve their dreams, regardless of the nature of their needs. He aims to help individuals who may be hitting roadblocks in their own fundraising.

The Extreme Edge Foundation has been several years in the making, but is just now celebrating its official launch. Though the foundation was officially incorporated in 2004, they have only recently acquired 501c3 nonprofit tax status from the IRS. Their mission is to "foster human potential through athletics, education, performing arts and Wounded Warrior and Disabled Veterans programs."

"In Juneau, a lot of companies get hit up by groups and sports, and by the time a single person goes to them, they don't have the funds to support an individual," Tompkins said.

Maggie Ferguson is a representative of Extreme Edge and is also the event planner for Friday's fundraiser.

"Joe is very much what his mission statement says," Ferguson said. "He just wants to help people the same way he was helped. Sometimes he has had a hard time finding ways to do that, which is why he started the foundation - to have a business model to help people on a much larger scale."

Though the foundation is based in Juneau with a board of directors in Seattle, their vision is much more broad.

"Joe really wants to make this foundation as big as possible to help as many people as possible," said co-founder Shirley Oliphant. She and Tompkins have been friends since high school and have high hopes for the future of Extreme Edge.

"We would like to go international," Oliphant said. They have already begun working with a disabled athlete in Africa who is looking forward to receiving funding and becoming a spokesperson for the foundation.

Proceeds from Friday's fundraiser will be specifically geared toward providing help for the Wounded Warrior Project, a nonprofit organization dedicated to honoring and empowering disabled veterans. Tompkins has spent over six years giving back to this often-overlooked group by coaching para-skiing veterans. He wants them be assured that their dreams and goals can still be realized, despite their disabilities.

"They're over there protecting us, so we can continue to walk or roll freely," Tompkins said. "I want them to know that life's not over when they come over from the war."

Event information

The fundraising event will feature a silent auction including Seattle Opera tickets, a dinner party at the Gold Room, ski lessons from Tompkins, snowboards, and more. Bidding will begin at 7 p..m.

Catered desserts will be donated by Abby LaForce-Roha of Abby's Kitchen, accompanied by a cash bar including dessert cocktails. Alex Marbel will provide live music.

"I think this is going to be a good night for parents to get a babysitter," Ferguson said. "Everyone's watching their money right now, but it's a definitely a good reason to splurge."

Tickets are available at Hearthside Books for $13 or at the door for $15.


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