A 6.2 magnitude earthquake that shook the town of Amatrice, Italy Aug. 24, 2016, reduced numerous buildings to piles of rubble, many of which were built in the 16th century, and left approximately 2,500 residents homeless. Teams of rescue and construction workers, aided by volunteer supporters, continue to help displaced residents recover from the aftermath. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Joshua Tverberg)
Story by Staff Sgt. Lance Pounds for U.S. Army Africa Public Affairs
VICENZA, Italy – Late in the evening of Aug. 24, a man began to receive multiple messages from loved ones. The messages asked if he is all right. Unaware of what had happen earlier in the day, the man turned to social media to find answers. This is what he found:
In central Italy a 6.2 magnitude earthquake reduced numerous buildings to piles of rubble, many of which were hundreds of years old, and left approximately 2,500 residents homeless. Tremors from the quake could be felt from Bologna to Naples. Towns most affected were those in the Umbria, Lazio and Marche regions.
Staff Sgt. Joshua Tverberg, a command information chief with U.S. Army Africa, quickly gathered his family to share the devastating news.
At that moment, the Tverberg family agreed they had to do something and again turned to social media.
The family posted a message detailing their intent to donate to survivors in Amatrice, one of the towns most affected by the earthquake. Much to their surprise, they began receiving comments from others in their area requesting to donate as well.
The next morning, the Tverberg family began collecting donations, loading each item into their personal minivan.
“Even without the 2nd and 3rd row seats, it was apparent we were not going to fit it all,” said Tverberg, a native of Young America, Minn. “So, I rented a moving truck.”
Donations, which filled more than half of the moving truck, came from various organizations and individuals within the Vicenza Military Community who shared a similar desire to support those affected.
“What began as a trip to take water there turned into a huge truck, packed with goods and relief for Italy. We are not with affiliates or sponsored, just a family reaching out to other families,” said Tverberg.
Tverberg and his wife, Shawna, a native of Bynum, Texas, spent the rest of the day collecting and packing the donations they planned to deliver the following morning.
“It took six hours,” Tverberg said. “I had to maneuver that big truck through small mountain roads, boulders as big as the truck blocking the road, and various police check points.”
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