Gino: A Child of War: An Amazing Story of Hope and Kindness
This initiative is the follow-on to the true story of Gino Farnetti Bragaglia, an Italian 5-year-old boy orphaned and abandoned during WWII, who was found, nourished, and cared for by Canadian soldiers during the Allied push into Italy in 1944.
When I served as Canadian Defence Attaché to Rome, one of my last duties in uniform was as the Canadian representative at the official ceremony in December 2012, when Gino received his actual birth certificate. He was almost 75!
I have selected a Calgary-based film production company, Combined Forces Production Collaborative, to produce a documentary of Gino’s poignant story and, as he calls them, his ‘Canadian Guardian Angels’.
In 1983 Gino was in his forties when he received a letter accompanied by an old photo of Canadian soldiers from the Italian Campaign. Reading the name of Lloyd ‘Red’ Oliver, a light ignites inside of him. He remembers the name, ‘Red’, as one of the soldiers who took care of him during the war when he was found starving in a stone quarry near Torrice, in the Liri Valley of the Lazio region near Frosinone, south of Rome. This photograph and name bring Gino back to a mostly forgotten past, inspiring a need to rediscover his origins.
This incredible story is witness to the resiliency of the human spirit. For Gino, remembering the caring and friendship he received as a young boy by these Canadian soldiers, the letter opens memories which were buried by life, yet have still endured some 80 years after the war. We are documenting these memories to show how the past can have profound meaning in the present. Extraordinary acts of bravery and humanity by this young boy’s ‘guardian angels’, born in the ashes of war, will be captured in this film as examples of kindness and dedication. Our hope is to help future generations learn about the tragedy of war, while showing the world how Canadian values illuminate the best in the human spirit.
As a proud Canadian Veteran, I would be humbled if you join me in supporting this docu-drama production of the Gino story. Although times are difficult and money scarce, any donation contributing to the production of this important piece of Italian-Canadian history is greatly appreciated. Here is the link from the production company with an embedded Go-Fund-Me sub-link.
Alternatively, you may wish to send a cheque to the following address:
Combined Forces Production Collaborative
C/O Tony Battista
2201 Trailwood Drive
Ottawa Ontario K0A 2T0
If you wish to donate via a registered charity and receive an official receipt for tax purposes, please email me such a request and I will provide additional information.
In addition to the donations made via the Go-Fund-Me portal, I have also received a few corporate contributions – not reflected in the Go-Fund-me total. Corporate sponsors and individual donors will be recognized in the acknowledgment section of the film.
I would equally appreciate you sharing this information/email with your many friends, family and professional contacts. Small donations from many go a long way to making this amazing film a reality. Our plan is to have it completed in 2023, on the 80th anniversary of the Italian Campaign and Gino’s 85th birthday!
I AM CONFIDENT THAT THE FILM WILL TOUCH SO MANY AND WILL POSITIVELY ENHANCE THE IMAGE OF OUR MILITARY PROFESSION, WHICH IS GREATLY NEEDED IN THESE CHALLENGING TIMES!
With a grateful heart, best of the Holiday Season to you and yours,