Local man has friends, family in quake zone

April 7, 2009 3:18:38 PM PDT
A Delaware man, who was praying for word from family members in the earthquake zone in Italy, is breathing a sigh of relief.It's tragedy that Frank Stella of Elsmere, Delaware is happy to say spared the lives of friends and relatives living in or near the quake zone.

"I have friends in America who are dear. But friends who I went to grade school with are very dear," Stella said. "I hear from them every week, either by email or by phone. I'm not ever going to lose that contact with them and I care about them very much."

After seeing the earthquake's devastation on television, Stella says Monday was agonizing for him.

"I was on the phone all day. It was very upsetting."

Stella, who returns to Italy every year, says rebuilding the homes and beautiful Italian churches will take years and money.

Money that he and other local Italians plan to raise in Delaware.

Stella and his relatives are calling on local Italian restaurants to donate food for a major fundraising dinner dance in Newark.

Meanwhile, a flight from Rome landed at the Philadelphia International Airport late Tuesday afternoon.

Some travellers, arriving in Philly, said it was too close for comfort.

"I have to admit I was very glad we didn't feel it. We were staying in an apartment on the third floor. There was no fire escape or anything," said Jean Flood of Kimberton, Pa.

Rome is about 70 miles away from the area hit by the quake.

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