Little Silver, New Jersey, May 16, 2022 – The Lt. Dennis W. Zilinski, II Memorial Fund again partnered with Markham Place School in Little Silver as part of its 12th Annual Markham CARES Day. The pandemic halted the program in 2021.
The goal of the annual school program is for sixth graders to be enlightened by members of the community who make a positive impact and to inspire the students to make a difference. The Lt. Dennis W. Zilinski, II Memorial Fund has been involved with the program for all 12 years. The Memorial Fund was founded in honor of Lt. Dennis W. Zilinski, II, a Middletown resident and graduate of Christian Brothers Academy in Lincroft, who was killed in action by a roadside bomb in Iraq in 2005.
“I think participating in this collection is very important because it helps the soldiers and it makes them feel remembered and cared for,” said Ben Weaver, a 6th grader at Markham Place School.
Dennis’ brother, Matthew Zilinski, an Army Major in the National Guard, Howell Police Officer, and board member of the Memorial Fund, spent the day with the students – along with his parents, Marion and Dennis Zilinski – speaking to them about the Memorial Fund’s mission. The students prepared care packages for deployed soldiers which were packed with soups, crackers, pretzels, cookies, candy, and thank you cards they made.
“Like my mom said, freedom is not free. We are apart from our families when we serve and miss important days, like birthdays of our children, anniversaries, and holidays. It’s hard on us, and it’s hard on our spouses and children,” said Matthew Zilinski to the students during his presentation. Zilinski told the students that his brother Dennis paid the ultimate sacrifice to our country with his life and told them about his deployment with the National Guard that meant leaving behind his wife and three young daughters.
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“The sacrifice that children of deployed soldiers make is often unseen. We can share the weight of such sacrifice by spreading sentiments of gratitude and reminders of love and support from those waiting at home. It is how we share the responsibilities of ensuring freedom,” said Tamara Pellien, 6th Grade Science Teacher at Markham Place School.
“I hope that they (deployed service members) realize people back home care about what they’re doing out there protecting our country,” stated 6th grader Wyatt Curley, twelve years old.
Their classmate, Lally Genest, also twelve years old, agreed. “I think the reaction is going to be really good, and I think they’re going to be really grateful for what they get and all this food that they’re going to enjoy. I think it’s really nice doing this, and I’m excited for them to receive it.”
The Memorial Fund boxed and labeled the boxes, then covered the cost to mail them overseas to our deployed troops.
More About the Lt. Dennis W. Zilinski, II Memorial Fund
Lt. Dennis W. Zilinski, II was killed in action in Iraq by a roadside bomb in 2005. The Lt. Dennis W. Zilinski, II Memorial Fund was created and founded a year later in Dennis’ honor. Twenty-three-year-old Lt. Zilinski was a Middletown, New Jersey resident, a Christian Brothers Academy (Lincroft, New Jersey) alumnus, a distinguished West Point graduate, a member of the 187th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team of the 101st Airborne Division. Since his untimely death, family and friends have united with the Memorial Fund to provide support to improve the morale and welfare of members of the United States Armed Forces and their families.
One of the main accomplishments of The Lt. Dennis W. Zilinski, II Memorial Fund is sponsoring service dogs for disabled American veterans suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). To date, the Zilinski Memorial Fund has sponsored more than 100 service dogs.
Additionally, the Zilinski Memorial Fund provides scholarships to students at Lt. Zilinski’s alma mater, Christian Brothers Academy. By providing these scholarships, the Zilinski Memorial Fund invests in the future of high school students who embody the leadership qualities and community spirit of Lt. Zilinski.
To help us raise awareness about all the good we do, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Parler, Instagram, and YouTube. Donations may be sent to: Lt. Dennis W. Zilinski, II Memorial Fund, P.O. Box 124, Adelphia, NJ 07710 or made online at www.runwithdennis.org.