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By Adam Madison
Relatives of Crescent City's Bruno de Solenni, who was killed by an explosion in Afghanistan on Saturday, have been overwhelmed by community support, they said Wednesday.
"It's been phenomenal total support, people are just so helpful in a time like this," said Ricardo de Solenni, Bruno's twin brother. "That's just what we need right now."
The 32-year-old Oregon National Guard captain was killed when a massive blast struck the convoy he was riding in.
Ricardo said before the shower of compassion kicked in, he was keeping his heartbreak inside.
"Normally I just don't show emotions very well," said the owner of a local plumbing company. "I'm not a huggy' type of guy, but now I'm taking every one that I can get."
He noted the Lighthouse Inn had contacted the family almost immediately and offered free rooms for out-of-town relatives.
Family members are receiving cards, flowers, food and daily phone calls offering condolences at their homes and businesses, said Cali Martin, mother of Bruno and Ricardo and a teacher at Del Norte High School.
"They're very responsive and very supportive, and we really appreciate that," she said.
The law office of Mario de Solenni, Bruno's father, has been receiving numerous phone calls, cards and condolences as well.
Pia de Solenni, Bruno's sister who flew in from Pennsylvania, said the de Solenni law office and family homes have received so many flowers and cards that "we can't really put a number on it so far."
She said she will be staying here until services which aren't scheduled yet are held for her brother.
Bruno's mother said the family has not received his body yet, but it has been returned to the United States.
"It could be a matter of days," said Martin.
She said once the body is "home," there will be a private service first, then a public rosary and memorial service.
The family has a request of people who attend the public service, she said.
"We did decide that when there is a memorial service, we are asking people to wear red, white and blue," said the grieving mother. "Because those are the colors he died for."
The daily condolences family members have been receiving at their homes and businesses are helping the family, but the almost-constant attention has left the de Solennis exhausted, said Pia.
"Everybody has been really generous and just sincere in their grief right now the family's just tired," she said.
Pia said the support although overwhelming at times has helped in the grieving process.
"It's been an outpouring from everybody," Ricardo said. "It's something I know I'll never experience again."