By Laura KreiderApril 6, 2018
LONGARE, Italy -- Pleasant weather conditions cooperated for the annual cleanup March 24 in Longare on Riviera Berica, about 10 miles south of Vicenza.
As a cyclical event, in its fifth consecutive year, some 15 members of the Vicenza Military Community grouped at the Longare Municipio, local town hall, where they met with Italian Alpini (a mountain infantry corps of the Italian Army that distinguished itself in combat during World War I and World War II), councilmen and Civil Protection Agency members.
Before heading out in the surroundings to pick up trash, clean trails and pull weeds, Gaetano Fontana, Mayor of Longare, addressed volunteers and thanked them for their continuous support, and posed for the annual picture in front of the town hall.
Then, donning gloves and holding big plastic bags, volunteers were divided in small teams with a mix of Italians and American Soldiers, civilians and family members.
Some of the volunteers live and work in Longare, one of whom was 207th Military Intelligence Brigade Command Sgt. Maj. Michael Timme. Timme was accompanied by his seven-year-old son, Easton.
"I wanted to thank our Soldiers and family members who came out to help us out this morning," he said during his remarks. "Longare has been welcoming to us, and we are looking forward to continuing our partnership between the community and the brigade."
Also, 207th MI Bde. Lt. Col. Bryan S. Mitchell, deputy commander, is familiar with Longare, as he lives nearby. He said he was happy to spend some time volunteering for the cleanup day.
"We work and live in this beautiful country. We interact with city members, we dine and shop in the local area, and this event gives the opportunity to maintain the longtime relationship we have with community, help promote to be good neighbors and give back to the community," said Mitchell.
While working shoulder to shoulder with Alpini from Costozza and Lumignano, Russell Allen, a civilian who also works in Longare, said he and his wife Giuliana participated in this event for the first time.
"I found out about the event because we had a point of contact within the 207th Military Intelligence Brigade and it was also promoted by the garrison," said Allen.
Both were happily surprised to see how the area they were assigned didn't have much to collect.
They agreed on saying, "It is still a way to encourage everybody to keep the environment nice."
"We are here to make 'beautiful Costozza' even more beautiful," added Russell.
Toward noon, after completing the 12 sections, participants gathered at the local Alpini seat of Lumignano where some chapter members prepared a traditional lunch as a way to show their appreciation and thank volunteers for their support in this civic engagement.
To see more photos of this event, visit the USAG Italy Flickr site, https://www.flickr.com/photos/usagvicenza/albums/72157693068606091.