On Saturday, September 7, over 235 people gathered at the fifth annual Toast to Dennis, at the home of Debbie and Bill Rustico in the Monmouth Hills Historic District. This year’s event was the most successful to date, with donations raised benefitting the Lt. Dennis W. Zilinski II Memorial Fund. The fund was created and founded in 2006 in order to honor local resident 1st Lt. Dennis W. Zilinski II, United States Army, who was killed in action while deployed in Iraq on November 19, 2005.
According to Marion Zilinski, mother of Dennis and co-founder of the fund, “This year, there was tremendous excitement during the live auctions, and as a result, we are able to purchase an additional number of service dogs from K9’s for Warriors!”
“These service dogs become invaluable partners to veterans suffering from Post Traumatic Stress or Traumatic Brain Injury. Studies have shown that service dogs can help these severely wounded heroes resume the daily activities which they enjoyed prior to sustaining these damaging combat injuries,” said Todd Gallery, director of operations for K9’s for Warriors.
“We have already donated service dogs, which come to us through K9s for Warriors, to three veterans - two of whom are from NJ - and we are thrilled that we were able to raise additional funds to provide dogs to even more veterans in need,” said Mrs. Zilinski.
About the Lt. Dennis W. Zilinski Memorial Fund:
Lt. Dennis Zilinski II grew up in Middletown, NJ and graduated from Christian Brothers Academy, where he was a member of the swim team. He received his nomination to attend the United States Military Academy at West Point and graduated in 2004. He also completed Airborne School while a student at West Point.
After graduation from Ranger School, he was assigned to the 1/187th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) “Rakkasan”. He deployed with the 101st Airborne Division on September 17, 2005. Lt. Dennis W. Zilinski, II died in Iraq on November 19, 2005 as a result of a roadside bombing near Bayji, 155 miles north of Baghdad. Lt. Zilinski’s medals include: Combat Infantry Badge, Bronze Star, Purple Heart, Global War on Terror, Iraq Campaign Service Medal and the New Jersey Distinguished Service Medal.
As an act of that love, Dennis’ family and friends founded The Lt. Dennis W. Zilinski, II Memorial Fund, whose mission is to continue to serve and assist returning men and women who were wounded in service to our nation. The fund also supports scholarships at CBA.
For more information please visit: www.runwithdennis.org or email RunwithDennis@yahoo.com.