Sky Soldiers clean up Italian city
October 31, 2013
VICENZA, Italy - Soldiers from the 173rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Airborne) gave back to the Camisano community Oct. 19, working with Italian volunteers to paint a school and trim hedges around the grounds of the local Alpini association.
The young men have been at Caserma Del Din for only a few months, but in the short time since they arrived in Vicenza they are committed to volunteer much of their off-duty time in the nearby communities.
"We really cherish the opportunity to come out and serve the community. I think it is often challenging for us to take the value of selfless service and apply to our everyday life," said Capt. Kevin Ryan, commander of Bravo Company, 173rd Brigade Special Troops Battalion, who arrived here in July from Bamberg, Germany.
"I try to encourage all of my paratroopers to come out when they can and give up their personal time to serve the community, and to serve others outside of themselves. It is extremely important and we are grateful to have an opportunity like this," Ryan said.
"It is a great pleasure to have U.S. Soldiers coming to help today with this much needed work for our school," said Gino Maistrello, Deputy Mayor and environmental assessor of the Comune di Camisano. Maistrello also took a brush in hand and helped Ryan and his Soldiers paint the town's middle school classroom walls, along with quite a few parents of the Italian students who study there.
"I am glad to see there is already a great relationship between the American military community and Camisano and I trust it will only strengthen over the years," Maistrello said, appreciating the Soldiers who jumped on the opportunity to lend a helping hand for the school and the Alpini complex here.
Spc. Aleksandra Kim, one of Ryan's Soldiers from Bravo Company, said that painting the school "was a cool thing to do to make the kids' days brighter than what they already are with this nice peach color paint."
Using such a bright color "will make the atmosphere happier and lighter so I am definitely happy to be here, glad to help the community in Camisano and spend some quality time with my leaders and friends as well," Kim said.
Many of the Soldiers said they enjoyed the opportunity to give back to the community, building camaraderie with members of their unit while developing deeper relationship with their Italian hosts, a double reward for a day's work.
In Vicenza since February, Spc. Cameron Steel, also with B Company, BSTB, 173rd IBCT (A), said he saw himself already as part of the community.
"I really like to help out and help make the community a better place," he said. Steel joined the team of Soldiers and volunteers of the local civil protection team, who trimmed shrubbery and hedges around town.
"Grass cutting was a lot of fun. It is fun to get one's hands dirty, especially for the good of the community," said Steel.
"I appreciate the opportunity to get involved in the local community," said Lt. Matthew A. Arevian, a platoon leader with B Co BSTB. "The people here have treated us great and we will definitely take any other opportunities we have to become involved with assisting the people of Vicenza," he said.
Bravo Company is looking forward to challenging the Alpini veterans of Camisano to play a round or two of boccie, the classic Italian outdoor bowling game, in mid-November. The match will follow another outreach activity in which the Soldiers will lend a helping hand to a school and a nursing home in town.
"I am looking forward to being able to associate with the Alpini. It is a great organization and we want to hopefully develop a relationship with them. That will be great," Ryan said.