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USM athlete wrestles through adversity

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A University of Southern Maine wrestler from Puerto Rico has spoken out about his experience helping raise funds to rebuild his hometown in wake of devastating Hurricane Maria.

Raul Gierbolini, a first-year student, has worked with USM's Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and his local church to help raise funds to rebuild after the Category 5 storm, which flattened much of the U.S. territory and left most of it without power.

Gierbolini spoke with WGME CBS 13’s Dave Eid about his experience.

“What’s going on, what’s happening to my family?” he recalled thinking as the storm made landfall in Puerto Rico in late September.

Fortunately, Gierbolini’s family survived, and he was able to spend the Christmas holiday with them just recently.

“Even though all the experiences that I’ve had this semester have been hard and difficult — for anyone — being able to go back home, that is the biggest present I could have,” he said.