The grandson of Abruzzo immigrants in the USA, joined the Italian lacrosse team: the Reagan story

The grandson of Abruzzo immigrants in the USA, joined the Italian lacrosse team: the Reagan story

Marcy’s delight. These are the great-grandparents who immigrated to the United States in 1915, in search of “fortune”: the pursuit of an “American Dream” that would secure a future for subsequent generations. To the children and grandchildren who will come after them.

A sixteen-year-old’s passion for the sport, lacrosse, was born in North America and became very popular throughout the United States, even reaching Europe.

A mayor and municipal officials in a small town have teamed up to realize the young athlete’s dream that today seems less distant: to play for the Italian women’s national team.

A small Abruzzo community is now preparing to welcome the whole family to Italy, in Marsica.

It’s a really “strong” and unusual story, the one that comes from Gioia dei Marsi and that features Regan Finlay, a young high school student at Episcopal Academy in Pennsylvania, USA as the protagonist. Born in 2007, at the age of 16, Finley has Marsican blood in his veins. Thanks to his family tree, he wears the blue jersey of the Italian lacrosse team today and is preparing to represent the Italian flag at the European Championships in Prague next summer or the Hong Kong Summer Championships 2024.

“Regan is currently attending high school at Episcopal Academy in Pennsylvania, USA, where she plays on the women’s lacrosse team. Thanks to their athletic training, their team ranks seventh out of more than 1,250 teams in the United States,” says Dr. Francesco Curioni, who has supervised On genealogical research, which is necessary to establish the practice of citizenship.

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“She is a young American girl, with ancestors of Italian stock who will now be able to compete in the Italian national lacrosse team competitions thanks to her ancestors born more than 100 years ago in Joya dei Marse and Pizzina. Regan sees in this process of citizenship not only a process of obtaining a passport travel but instead the possibility of recreating that bond he lost due to ancestral immigration with the municipality of origin. She is very grateful that the dream of wearing the national team’s blue jersey has come true thanks to the help of the local population.”

To highlight a story that comes from afar, the mayor of the Gioia de Marse, Gianluca Alfonsi, who immediately made available all the administrative organs, as soon as he learned of the request for documentation from the American family.

This story, which is almost unbelievable, comes from the beginning of the 20th century of the last century.

From “Maria Villetta, born on October 30, 1881, daughter of Costanzo Villetta and Silvestra Liberata married to Joya de Marcy on May 29, 1910 with Domenico de Piero originally from Pesinha,” says Corioone, “Welcome of the mayor, as mayor, the wish of the staff The municipality not only gave Reagan this great opportunity in the world of sports, but also gave the possibility of reliving the journey that María Villetta and Domenico De Piero made in 1915, to emigrate to the United States, trying to give a better future to future generations. original municipality.
Reagan’s father, James Finley, had always supported her in sports, from the age of five, but above all he had conveyed her passion for her country. They have been to Italy many times together but now they can’t wait to visit the Gioia de Marse.”

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After the testimonials were requested, there were several communications between the mayor and Reagan’s father. In audio recordings sent on WhatsApp, Mr. Finlay thanks the mayor and the whole city and explains that over the years confusion has arisen between the origin of his great-grandparents and that it was never clear if they were from Gioia or from Pisgna.

“We are proud that we have been able to help make the dream of a girl come true,” Mayor Alfonsi commented, “whose blood flows with joy. I wish you on behalf of myself and the community of Joya de Marse, every luck has happened and I know we are rooting for you.” Meanwhile, now in the Joya de Marse, we are preparing to welcome the young athlete and it is possible that her “honorary citizen” will arrive.

Mayor of the Joya dei Marse, Gianluca Alfonsi

What Reagan’s dream says sounds like an echo coming from history. Reading on the cards that 1915 gives chills. It was the year of the earthquake, which killed more than 30,000 Marsaki. The destructive force started from a fault that opened directly in the Joya de Marse. Then World War I, poverty. Migrate to faraway lands with fear in your eyes and some cardboard suitcases in your hands. Week-long voyages, sleepless nights in the ports of unknown continents.

Uncertainty in the future that will be built on the sole foundations of love. In the veins of the Abruzzo blood, the blood of people who resist but who also know how to adapt and take root in new lands. They are the people of Abruzzo, who have been and always will be strong, kind and proud of their origins.

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