What a lesson the kids at Fairview School have learned about those who serve our country. These elementary school children have gone the extra mile.

(Photo courtesy of Think Media Communications)

Some elementary school students in Middletown recently celebrated "Give Back Week" by donating to deployed soldiers in honor of Lt. Dennis W. Zilinski.

Fairview Elementary School Principal Michael Melando says, “It’s one thing to teach children a lesson in a book, but it’s another to teach children through action. Not only did our fourth graders collect needed supplies for those who are deployed, but they got to hear first-hand from the mother of a fallen soldier how the items would make a difference for morale overseas.”

About 50 fourth grade students collected needed supplies and goodies for deployed servicemen and servicewomen as part of “Give Back Week” – a school initiative to instill the value of community service in the children. The collection for the troops was in honor of Lt. Dennis W. Zilinski, II, a Middletown resident and graduate of Christian Brothers Academy in Lincroft, who was killed in action by a roadside bomb in Iraq in 2005.

(Photo courtesy of Think Media Communications)

Dennis’ mother and father, Marion and Dennis Zilinski, co-founders and board members of the Lt. Dennis W. Zilinski II Memorial Fund, met the students at a program at the school where students also made cards for the troops. Marion thanked the children for collecting personal items including toothbrushes, toothpaste, hand sanitizer, powder, lip balm, and soap, as well as goodies including Pringles, gum, beef jerky, protein bars, and playing cards

Marion Zilinski says,“You don’t know how excited these men and women will be to get your packages filled with personal items and treats. When you’re in a place like Afghanistan, stores don’t exist at the corner where you can buy a toothbrush or lip balm, and it’s no fun to go without items you really need.”

Marion Zilinski went on to tell the children that her younger son, Matthew, is currently deployed with the National Guard while his wife stays home in New Jersey caring for their three daughters. She added, “My son and his soldiers will receive some of these items, and they’ll be very happy.”

(Photo courtesy of Think Media Communications)

One of the fourth graders in the crowd, Lizzy Wittmer, said she knows the sacrifices of being a military family all too well. Her father serves in the Army. Lizzy said, “I know it’s going to help people, because after I was born my dad had to go to Afghanistan for a year. This helps them to survive and be happy.”

Wise words from a little girl who knows all too well what it's like to have a loved one serving our country overseas. We should remember that, and take and example from these kids! Let's all make an effort to send our military troops some love, kind words, and perhaps a care package or two.

(Photo courtesy of Think Media Communications)