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Costa Concordia Crew Member Honored Gold Medal for Civil Valor - Giuseppe lost his life to save two children

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Finally, after 10 years the Italian Republic will honor the late Costa Cruises crew member Giuseppe Girolamo, with the highest award for Civil Valor. The award honors Giuseppe’s act of exceptional courage that clearly manifest solidarity, recognizing his heroic act to save others during the Costa Concordia disaster.

The official announcement from the Italian Government about the recognition was received on 12 July, two days after what would have been Giuseppe's 40th birthday. 

"The medal finally gives dignity and value to the generous and grandiose gesture of this extraordinary young man," said Michele Longo - former mayor of the Municipality of Alberobello.

 Giuseppe Girolamo was a 30-year-old musician and was among the 32 victims of the Costa Concordia shipwreck. He did not hesitate in the panic following the sinking of Costa Concordia to give his seat in the lifeboat to a family with two children, despite not being able to swim.

Giuseppe played as a drummer aboard the cruise ship, he enjoyed dancing and entertaining passengers and officers.  That fateful evening, after the ship struck rocks off the coast of Giglio Island, following the abandon ship signal, Giuseppe managed to find a place on one of the lifeboats. However, a family remained, with two small children. The young Italian drummer didn’t hesitate for a moment and left his place on the lifeboat by letting them board and save themselves.

Giuseppe’s father said that his son was aware of two things; That this was the last lifeboat and that he did not know how to swim. However in that tragic moment, he reasoned with his heart, he gave his life to save two young children.

The mother of the saved children Antonella Bologna describes Giuseppe as an angel who descended to help her in that desperate moment.  

"There was a man dressed in black, in a corner, and I remember saying to him: Please, you have to pick us up, I have two children. In the widespread panic he managed to stay calm and help us. I think he was an angel or he seemed one to me. Because it was only thanks to him that we were able to get into the third lifeboat and take the final seats. After that he disappeared. 

Giuseppe drowned, sucked by the water that night. 

Ten years later, the citizens of Alberobello and his fellow shipmates still mourn Giuseppe Girolamo and celebrate his heroic gesture.