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Mar 07, 2017

Oak Hill Academy Helps Fallen Hero

On November 9, during the 15th annual Oak Hill Academy Veterans Day Program, Mrs. Marion Zilinski, Gold Star Mother of Lt. Dennis W. Zilinski, II spoke movingly about her sonโ€™s service to our country. Lt. Dennis W. Zilinski, II was a Middletown native, graduate of CBA and West Point, and Army Ranger 101st Airborne who lost his life in Iraq in 2005. The Lt. Dennis W. Zilinski, II Memorial Foundation provides support and improves the morale of wounded veterans by offering scholarships, donations to service dogs, sending supplies for military working dogs, and helping in any other way to ease their transition back into society.

At that time, Oak Hill Academy chose to support the foundation through a dress down day, with all of the monies going to this worthwhile cause after Mrs. Zilinskiโ€™s emotional presentation about her hero son. The response was overwhelming. In fact, when Mrs. Beth Stefko, mother of three Oak Hill boys Ryan (sixth grade), Dylan (third), and Ian (first), returned home that evening, she told her husband about the Veterans Day program. He shared the story of the K9 Sgt. Denny Project with the CEO of his company, Mr. Spencer Haber, who has established a charitable foundation, the H/3 Foundation, a significant focus of which is to promote animal welfare. The H/3 Foundation decided to donate $5,000 to the Lt. Dennis W. Zilinski, II Memorial Foundation. After all donations had been collected, Oak Hill Academy was able to present Mrs. Zilinski with a check for $2,515 in addition to the generous H/3 Foundation donation.

Mr. Joseph Pacelli, Headmaster, and Miss Patrice Murray, Director of Personnel/Administration, invited Mrs. Zilinski to join them for a small ceremony in the Harkness Room on the campus of Oak Hill Academy. Joining them were Mrs. Beth Stefko and her children, Ryan, Dylan, and Ian; Mala (seventh) and Shiven (fifth) Shah; Student Council President Sebastian Basile (eighth), Jordan Codispoti (eighth), and Student Council moderators Mrs. Linda Vacca and Mrs. Cynara Savarese.