Disposal specialist aids Italy’s pandemic fight

By Jake Joy DLA Disposition Services Public Affairs

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As pandemic continues to threaten lives and upend economies across the globe, one agency property disposal specialist and his family are helping their community fight back against the coronavirus outbreak.

Nuzzo Dino Garofalo is a 33-year veteran of the Defense Logistics Agency Disposition Services site at Naval Air Station Sigonella, an Italian Air Force base that hosts about 4,000 U.S. military and civilian personnel and their families near the Sicilian city of Catania.

In his down time, Garofalo serves as a personnel chief for his town’s civil protection unit. He said every Italian town is obligated to maintain a civilian assistance group, staffed by local volunteers and overseen by city council. He joined his local, approximately 40-person unit in 1998, and he said the team’s volunteers help the community with extraordinary needs, like helping the national fire department deal with local blazes, responding to earthquakes and providing general assistance to authorities during natural disasters.

“We have sent our volunteers to the earthquake in central Italy, a flood that happened in northern Sicily, we have also taken turns to help the refugees that came from Africa at our commercial port,” Garofalo said. “The main thing that made me volunteer is that I like to help people that need all the help they can get, and to be honest with you, it’s something that comes out of your heart.”

Garofalo said the situation in Italy is at a critical juncture, and there are now local base personnel who have been identified as positive for the coronavirus. Garofalo is currently working to rotate the local volunteers through routine critical pandemic response tasks. He said his wife also volunteers, as does his son, who helps with the sick and disabled. Garofalo said his daughter, who is disabled, also pitches in.

“She is the main reason why I need to help others,” Garofalo said. “We take her with us, she stays in the office and all of the volunteers love her.”

He said he hoped that the situation will start to improve soon. While the situation changes rapidly every day, as of this story posting, nearly 10% of confirmed coronavirus cases in Italy have turned out to be fatal.

“We are praying to God daily to help all the global population,” Garofalo said.