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The Journals are the premier publications for high-quality, hyperlocal news and advertising in Monmouth County, New Jersey

Oct 12, 2017

Join The Journal in Supporting Our Veterans With Pets For Vets Make a Difference

By Joanne Colella

Our readers may recall that last year around this time, The Journal launched a charitable initiative called Nets Make a Difference to benefit the local organization 180 Turning Lives Around. We placed special “nets” at various locations around the community and invited people to drop off donated items in those nets that would go to the annual holiday boutique offered to 180’s clients. The project was a huge success, and both The Journal and 180 Turning Lives Around were enormously grateful for everyone’s support.

With the holiday season almost upon us, and Veterans Day approaching next month, The Journal is presenting a new charitable initiative – this time, in recognition of the fact that our nation’s vets make a difference and to lend support to two local veterans’ organizations: Unbroken Warriors and the Lt. Dennis W. Zilinski, II Memorial Fund. Throughout the year, we publish a good deal of information about the efforts of each of these very worthy organizations, and we invite you to join us in supporting another successful project to benefit the services they provide to America’s military veterans.

Unbroken Warriors was founded by Holmdel Police Officer and U.S. Navy veteran Michael Dowens and his wife, Christine. Michael served four years of active duty in Liberia, Somalia, and the Northern Arabian Gulf. After being honorably discharged from service, he was plagued with the effects of PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), and credits the treatment he was able to receive with saving his life and his family. Highlighting the startling and tragic fact that 22 veterans are lost each day to suicide, his goal for Unbroken Warriors is to increase awareness about PTSD and provide funding for veterans to benefit from residential services in order to manage their symptoms and regain control of their lives. To learn more, visit

The Lt. Dennis W. Zilinski, II Memorial Fund was created by his parents to honor the life of Lt. Dennis W. Zilinski, II, a local resident and CBA graduate who was killed in Iraq in 2005 when an improvised explosive device detonated. In addition to providing support to improve the morale and welfare of military members and their families and providing scholarships to high school students who embody the leadership qualities of Lt. Zilinski, the organization provides funding to sponsor military working dogs and service dogs needed by military veterans suffering from PTSD and/or injuries. For information, visit

This month, The Journal is organizing a project called Pets for Vets Make a Difference to raise awareness and funding for both organizations, with all proceeds divided equally between them. Bearing in mind their respective missions, we are designing the initiative to be meaningful for each organization. We are inviting our readers and advertisers to make an online donation of $22 or more to our Pets for Vets project, via our GoFundMe page. The amount of $22 is meant to represent the 22 veterans who commit suicide each day. In return, donors will receive a specially designed car magnet, which will include an image of a dog or paw print, to represent the service dogs that are needed by veterans.

We will publish details about the project through The Journal publications, our website, and on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, as well as on posters to be displayed in places throughout the community and with our advertisers who wish to participate. The project will run for two months, from October 22 through December 22. At the end of that time, all funds raised will be given to Unbroken Warriors and the Lt. Dennis W. Zilinksi, II Fund to go towards PTSD treatment and sponsorship of a working or service dog.

To learn more, please be sure to look for updates in the coming days at, on Facebook at The Journal NJ, or on Twitter and Instagram @TheJournalNJ. Thank you in advance for your generous support, and heartfelt thanks to all of our nation’s military veterans and their families for their dedicated service.