The August 21 edition of Italian news outlet Gazzettino and the Saturday evening edition of TG1 reported on a touching story of friendship and solidarity — and it’s one of those fairy tales that unfortunately do not always have a happy ending.
Last Saturday, during a funeral ceremony held in the church in Ballò (near the city of Venice, Italy), attended by a packed crowd both inside and in the churchyard, an 8-year-old boy, Enea, came up to the altar and in his little voice dedicated these few simple words to the deceased: “Goodbye, Fabrizio. You were a great friend.”
Fabrizio Berton: Policeman and president of the Association “A Knight’s Heart”
This was the most moving goodbye addressed to Fabrizio Berton, a 53-year-old Venetian policeman and president of the “A Knight’s Heart” Association, which he had helped found—thus fulfilling a wish of his father, who had been active in various charitable activities and in particular in supporting families with autistic children.
The friendship between Enea and Fabrizio
The story of Enea and Fabrizio’s friendship had been reported by countless newspapers a few months earlier. The policeman had learned that the child, diagnosed with a form of leukemia, was a Lamborghini enthusiast. Fabrizio immediately got busy, managing, last Christmas, to get Enea into a Lamborghini patrol car of the highway patrol, in which he took him from his home in San Giorgio in Bosco to Padua where he was to be treated. He also gave the boy a small-scale toy Lamborghini as a gift.
And although Enea is overcoming his cancer after undergoing a bone marrow transplant, 7 months after their meeting Fabrizio was also struck down by leukemia that unfortunately didn’t give him a chance to survive.
Present at the funeral were five officers who had the opportunity during the event to speak appreciatively of his human and professional virtues during his work in Venice.
Always ready to lend a hand
Berton was known throughout Italy for his initiatives also in the field of Civil Defense: he had been one of the first to bring concrete help to the mountain town of Rocca Pietore (whose mayor addressed a moving remembrance to Officer Berton), which was devastated in October 2018 by storm Vaia, which hit the Italian Northeast at that time. He was also on the forefront of providing aid to the Italian town of Amatrice during a 2016 earthquake that left more than 300 people dead.
Named a Knight of the Republic by Mattarella
For this passionate commitment to social work, carried out even during the first terrible months of the pandemic, Italian President Sergio Mattarella awarded Berton the honor of Knight of the Republic in the year 2020.
“Now that you are up there, you will receive a knighthood from God”
During the Mass, parish priest Fr. Roberto, addressing the deceased, said, “Now that you are up there, you will receive a knighthood from God.”
Enea and Fabrizio: two destinies that intersected in God’s inscrutable designs, which are never those imagined by us.