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

Nov 13, 2017

“Toast to Dennis- A Night of Remembrance” Raises $250,000 to Support Wounded Warriors 

A quarter of a million dollars was raised at the ninth annual Lt. Dennis W. Zilinski Memorial Fund gala titled, “A Toast to Dennis – A Night of Remembrance,” held on September 8 at the Eagle Oaks Golf and Country Club. The event celebrated the life and memory of Lt. Zilinski, as well as honor those from Monmouth County who lost their lives in the 9/11 attacks. The evening featured dinner, dancing with music by The Infernos, and a reverse auction to assist the fund in sponsoring service dogs for warriors suffering from PTSD and/or traumatic brain injuries.

Two hundred ninety guests attended the affair. Tom and Marie Dolan of Avon-by-the-Sea and Ron and Kim Jaeger of Rumson were this year’s distinguished honorees for their belief in and support of the cause. In addition, wounded warriors from as far as California and Maine attended with their service dogs and families. The Zilinski Memorial Fund also received a check for $45,000 from Senior Vice Commander George Karatzia of AHEPA (American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association) Chapter 517 in Holmdel for the sponsorship of three service dogs and already has selected two names: Penelope and George. The third one will be named shortly. Added to their donation were three additional dogs that were sponsored by other supporters prior to the evening’s festivities. A check for $90,000 for these six dogs was presented to K9s for Warriors.

Also, during the event, donations were accepted from other supporters for another 10 dogs! These dogs will also be named and then trained to support our wounded warriors. With the additional donations, the total number of service dogs supported by this fund is up to 64. The dogs are sponsored for $15,000 each, for a grand total of $240,000 from this event alone.

“We cannot thank everyone who attended and support this cause enough,” said Marion Zilinski, mother of Dennis and co-founder of The Zilinski Memorial Fund. “More and more of our veterans are returning from combat and suffer from mental and physical health. The Zilinski Fund wants to provide for these men and women in uniform so that they can live as close to a normal life as possible.”

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 U.S. 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. He 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 love, his 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 and to provide support that improves the welfare of members of the United States Armed Forces and their families. The fund also supports scholarships at CBA. For information, visit www.runwithdennis.org, email RunwithDennis@yahoo.com, or call (732) 431-1713 or (732) 683-0901.