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NAVAL AIR STATION SIGONELLA, Sicily — With some of her allowance, 11-year-old Alexa Subbiondo is buying extra gifts for her friends whose Christmas presents were damaged in last week’s flooding at the Navy base housing in Sigonella.

Wrapped and tagged will be “bottles of perfume, some bath soap, baby doll stuff and even a baseball bat,” Alexa said.

“I have a whole bunch of friends who got flooded and I wanted to help. I feel sad for everyone but happy our family didn’t get flooded.”

Alexa’s happiness morphed into generosity, something that seems to be spreading at the naval base.

On Dec. 14, floodwaters caused by several days of heavy rain reduced operational capabilities at Naval Air Station Sigonella II and inundated the Maranai military housing complex less than a mile away. Of the 526 townhouse-style houses, 88 percent sustained some level of water and mud damage.

After the Morale, Welfare and Recreation office held its Christmas tree lighting event earlier in December, staff members thought they were done planning holiday events, said director James Baker.

But on Friday, MWR is hosting a holiday party from 2 to 8 p.m. at the Midtown complex on NAS I and the whole base is invited.

“We thought we would host something where the community could all come together,” Baker said. The party will feature music, food, arts and crafts, and cookie-making activities for the children, Baker said.

Santa Claus will be on hand for the children. And MWR has bought more than 1,000 “small token gifts” to be handed out.

On Christmas Day, the base galley will serve more holiday meals than anticipated to accommodate those families flooded out of their homes, and thus their kitchens. MWR is providing a string quartet to add to the festive ambience, Baker said.

And MWR is buying turkeys and other traditionally American food to give to local hotels where some of the evacuated Maranai families temporarily are housed, Baker said. With menus not yet complete, he has no cost estimate. Some of the evacuees have volunteered to work alongside Italian chefs to prepare the Christmas dinners, he said.

MWR also is looking at planning Hanukkah meals and possibly Kwanzaa events, but details are not available yet. Hanukkah begins at sundown Sunday, and the weeklong Kwanzaa celebration begins Monday.


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