Construction started in 1912 on the 366-foot Kodak Tower in downtown Rochester; 106 years later, Corey Ingham stepped off the top and rappelled down to the pavement below as training for the volunteer work he would do the next day.
Ingham is no stranger to volunteer work. He donned an Easter Bunny costume at the American Legion in Scottsville for four years, to the delight of area children.
“I passed it on to my brother,” Ingham said. “He’s an eighth-grader, because I was too tall for the costume.”
Ingham completed an Eagle Scout volunteering project at the American Legion.
“I maintain the memorial garden for fallen sheriff’s deputies for the county,” he said. “They go back to 1911, I think.”
The bench and signs were already in place, but Ingham built a retaining wall, planted shrubs and flowers and installed a paver pad surrounding the bench. Ingham and his family power-washed and oiled the bench, and put down fresh mulch in preparation for the Memorial Day parade. Ingham’s father is a sheriff’s deputy, so this project has special meaning to him.
The day after Ingham’s rappel, he and his father acted as bottom belayers for the 21 Stories for Scouts event that raised over $150,000 in support of outreach programs for Rochester’s urban youth.
“It was the single largest fundraising event in the history of the Seneca Waterways Council,” said Tony Vogl, director of development.
Ingham’s job was to make sure participants had a smooth landing. He was one of 15 ropes volunteers. Together with the 96 participants and 10 members of the press, 121 people rappelled down Kodak Tower.
“It was a great way to finish off the week after the Advanced Placement exams,” Ingham said. “It wasn’t really all that bad. I don’t really have any fear of heights. It’s mostly making sure you know how to use all the equipment, hooking yourself in and they check it. So, you just hop up over the edge and it’s a really cool view. You can see everything.”
Ingham is valedictorian and recipient of the Outstanding Senior Award for the Wheatland-Chili Class of 2018. He will attend Alfred State in the fall to study surveying and geomatics engineering.