God Bless Our Troops

Lt. Dennis W. Zilinski II, Memorial Fund



March 19, 2016; Lake Shawnee, NJ

Sgt Aaron Alonso, who was severely injured in Afghanistan in early 2014 (losing both of his legs), received a life-changing gift – a new Polaris vehicle with hand controls. The RZR, a high-end, off road four-seater, was made possible by several charities and groups, the lead of which was the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post 281 of Fair Lawn, NJ.

Other contributors included the LT Dennis W Zilinski II Foundation of Howell, NJ (named for a young West Point graduate who was killed in Iraq in 2005); the SSgt Joseph D’Augustine Memorial Foundation of Waldwick, NJ (named for a Marine killed in Afghanistan in 2012); the O’Connell family of Virginia (whose son Aidan raised money with his soccer team for Wounded Veterans); M&M Motorsports of Liberty, NY; and the Adopt-a-Soldier Platoon (AaSP) who coordinated the project.


“When you can impact a Wounded Veteran’s life and make him more independent and self-fulfilled, that’s as good as it gets,” said Alan Krutchkoff, president of AaSP.


Sgt Alonso took to the vehicle like a duck to water. While he was not familiar with the particular hand controls installed, he immediately had no problem becoming familiar with them. In fact, later in the day after the presentation, he was able to go off-roading in the woods.


“Got in about 30 miles today, soaking wet, cold and dirty,” Aaron said. “It feels great.”


“Enabling our wounded warriors to move forward with their lives is paramount to our organization.  Just watching the smiling face of this wounded Marine, as he viewed his new Polaris, was worth our trip to North Jersey for this presentation.  Thank you Sergeant Aaron Alonso for your service to the people of this nation” said Marion Zilinski, of the Lt. Dennis W Zilinski, II Memorial Fund, Howell, N.J.


Other contributors included the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post 281 of Fair Lawn, N.J.; the Staff Sergeant Joseph D’Augustine Memorial Foundation of Waldwick, N.J., the O’Connell family of Va.; M&M Motorsports of Liberty, N.Y.; and the Adopt-a-Soldier Platoon (AaSP), who coordinated the project.


Pictures: Group shot outside Gatwyns II restaurant, where the group had lunch after the presentation. L 2 R- Bob Alkire, Commander Post 281; Brendan O’Connell; Nick Felice, Post 281; Nick Magarelli, Jr, active Navy; Nick Magarelli Sr, Veterans Liaison for Fair Lawn; Alan Krutchkoff, Pres., AaSP; Mary-Edna Krutchkoff, VP, AaSP; Sam DePadova, Post 281; Sgt Aaron Alonso; Jack O’Neil, Post 281; Marion Zilinski and Dennis Zilinski; Bill Casey, AaSP; Aidan O’Connell; (kneeling next to Aaron Diane Casey, AaSP; Allan; and Mary Meade O’Connell.

Aaron Alonso after driving off-road.