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Two Valley residents reunited sixty years after immigrating to America

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LOWELLVILLE, Ohio - Sixty years ago, two lives crossed paths as they made their way from Italy to America. Those lives once again have come together, following a remarkable course of events.

Gerbina DiRienzo waits anxiously on her porch in Lowellville. Sixty years ago she came from Italy. The young 21 year-old didn't speak any English but was looking to build a new life in America with her husband, who had come over earlier.

During the 11 day voyage to Ellis Island she became the caretaker of a 10 year-old boy named Tony, who was also traveling to America all by himself.

Once they arrived to Ellis Island the two became separated. And, the question of what became of Tony has haunted DiRienzo for the last 60 years.

"I feel like I made a mistake not asking him his phone number, address, it always weighed on my mind. I wondered what the young man ended up to be," said DiRienzo.

On Tuesday, her questions were answered as she was reunited with Tony DiTommaso. The same boy she spent 11 days caring for is now a grown man, and one who unknowingly lived just a couple towns over from DiRienzo, in Hubbard.

"I had goose bumps all over me and after the phone call I'm sitting in my chair at home and I'm looking at my wife, and it's like 'Patty this is crazy. I don't believe it,'" said DiTommaso.

The two lives once again crossing paths is all because of a chance conversation between two mutual acquaintances. Each had heard one side of the story, one from DiRienzo and the other from DiTommaso. The two mutual friends pieced the story together.

Bringing DiRienzo and DiTommaso together. The two are now catching up on the past 60 years, sharing memories, photographs and even looking back at their old passports.

And while it may be one of the most unlikely reunions, it's one they believe was guided by destiny.


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