Students make care packages for troops to honor fallen soldier

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MIDDLETOWN -

Students at Thorne Middle School in Middletown spent the day making care packages to send to troops stationed around the world - all in honor of a fallen soldier who attended the same middle school.

Dennis Zilinski graduated from Thorne Middle School in 1996 and died fighting in Iraq in 2005. The Zilinski family started the care package program to honor Zilinski and to teach middle school students about the value and importance of those who fight to protect the United States.

“They are the reason for us being here today. If it wasn’t for them, we might not be here today,” says eighth-grader Paul Mantello.

The group put together more than 40 boxes of supplies and shipped them off overseas Thursday.

“I have a lot of pride in the students…that they remembered one of their own, even though a lot of these children weren’t even born when Dennis attended Thorne,” says mom Marion Zilinski.

Teacher Jessica DeLumeau is a former classmate of Zilinski’s. She says that she tells the students that they are all connected.

“It's not just people in the past. It's people that we’re connected to in some way, whether they are a family member, or a neighbor, or a classmate – that our active military, they're all around us and that we need to remember who they are and thank them for what they are doing for us,” she says.

The care packages are filled with items that were donated by the community/

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