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

May 01, 2017

Lt. Dennis W. Zilinski II Memorial Fund Provides Service Dog to Wounded Warrior

Thanks to the generous support of the Middletown Lions Club, the Lt. Dennis W. Zilinski, II Memorial Fund was instrumental in providing a specially trained service dog named Leo to a wounded warrior, Richard, to help him move forward with his life after suffering a traumatic brain injury.

Leo was trained at K9s for Warriors in Ponte Vedra, FL for six months and spent three weeks at the school living with his new partner Richard. They took their last test prior to graduation, and Leo was officially certified under the American Disabilities Act. Leo and his warrior graduated on January 26. Board member Quentin Walk was on hand to represent the Lt. Dennis W. Zilinski, II Memorial Fund.

“This donation is possible thanks to the generous support we received from the Middletown Lions Club,” said Marion Zilinski, co-founder of the Lt. Dennis W. Zilinski, II Memorial Fund. “We wish Leo and Richard success, health, and much happiness together. The continued support of our patrons is critical.”

The organization’s next big fundraising event will be the K9 Sgt. Denny Dog Walk on June 3 at the New Jersey Army National Guard Training Center in Sea Girt. To join, visit www.runwithdennis.org or request a personal invitation at Runwithdennis@yahoo.com.

The Lt. Dennis W. Zilinski Memorial Fund provides care and support for those serving our country and their families. The Sgt. Denny Project has sponsored 40 service dogs to date, costing approximately $15,000 per dog. The program is named for Sgt. Denny, a two-year-old German shepherd who was stationed in Afghanistan with his handler.

For those returning home from combat, the transition back into society can be overwhelming. The hyper-vigilance and hyper-reactivity to situations, sensations, sounds, and smells that kept them alive in the war zone often continue despite the peace of civilian life. Service dogs are trained to help wounded warriors with many of the fight-or-flight reactions and health issues they face upon returning home from combat. For more information, please visit www.runwithdennis.org or email RunwithDennis@yahoo.com.

About the Lt. Dennis W. Zilinski Memorial Fund

Lt. Dennis Zilinski II grew up in Middletown 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. His medals include: Combat Infantry Badge, Bronze Star, Purple Heart, Global War on Terror, Iraq Campaign Service Medal, and the New Jersey Distinguished Service Medal.