Brother of local airman hopes small gesture will have big impact

Street Stories

WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) ─ The brother of a local airman serving overseas is helping out other military families with a small, yet heartwarming gesture.

When his younger brother and business partner was deployed to the Middle East earlier this year, Bobby Martorelli wanted to help other local families who were also missing a loved one in the service.

That’s when he began delivering free buckets of ice melt.

But his goal is much bigger than something you might tuck away in the garage at the end of the season.

He hopes that the small gesture will be one less thing military families have to worry about during the winter.

It wasn’t always easy for the Martorelli brothers growing up, but the two ended up becoming best friends and building their property management business from scratch.

“There were some parts of our lives, things went down the drain,” Martorelli said of his brother, Billy Martorelli. “Sometimes you have to get out of that drain as fast as you can. You have to progress and if you don’t progress you don’t get better.”

Martorelli hopes his small gesture will inspire others to help their neighbors who, like him, share the same questions every day.

“I almost want to cry because me and my brother are so close,” Martorelli said. “I don’t know if he’s safe today. I don’t know if he’s going to be safe in an hour.”

“The ice melt is a small gesture, but hopefully it means something big to these families,” he added.

Erik Ekroth’s son was just shipped out for boot camp. He said he was extremely grateful when Martorelli showed up at his door with some ice melt.

“It’s just nice that people are appreciative of folks who are stepping up for our country,” Ekroth said. “Defending the country with the military, especially with everything that’s going on right now, every little gesture helps.”

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