Monmouth County government officials have donated more than 100 boxes of care packages to the Lt. Dennis W. Zilinski II Memorial Fund, a local organization that provides support to improve the morale and welfare of members of all branches of the U.S. Armed Forces as well as their families, announced Freeholder Deputy Director Lillian G. Burry.

The County-wide drive collected food, drinks, snacks, personal care items and more using collection boxes that were set up at a number of Monmouth County buildings and schools.

The supplies were put into care packages with handwritten notes of gratitude by students in ROTC programs at MAST and Colts Neck High School as well as Freeholder Deputy Director Burry and representatives from the State Police and the Lt. Dennis W. Zilinski II Memorial Fund.

The boxes were shipped off to troops serving overseas and will be delivered in time to spread holiday joy and gratitude.

"The support of the residents in Monmouth County is astounding," Freeholder Deputy Director Burry said. "This drive would not have been as successful without their support. I am proud to partner with the Lt. Dennis W. Zilinski II Memorial Fund to help brighten the holidays and express our deepest appreciation to the men and women in our armed forces.

The students Monmouth County schools were the backbone of this donation effort and are a true testament to our educational system. They helped support our efforts at every stage of the project from collecting items to assembling care packages to loading the packages into boxes."

The Lt. Dennis W. Zilinski II Memorial Fund was founded in 2006 to honor the life and memory of Lt. Dennis W. Zilinski, who was one of four American soldiers killed by a roadside bomb during combat operations in Bayji, Iraq on Nov. 12, 2005.

Zilinski grew up in Middletown.

"We are so grateful to everyone in Monmouth County who helped keep the memory of my son alive by participating in this drive and making it so successful," Marion Zilinski, co-founder of the Lt. Dennis W. Zilinski II Memorial Fund said. "We would like to thank Freeholder Deputy Director Burry for her leadership and support - we hope this effort inspires other counties all over New Jersey to follow Monmouth County's lead and run their own donation project. I know my son would be so proud of all that this donation drive accomplished."

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