SADD Continues Dinner for the Troops Tradition
December 16, 2019
For the past 13 years, the Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) group has organized one of the most anticipated evenings at the Academy: the Dinner for the Troops.
What started as a modest gathering, the dinner has grown to regularly feature nearly 250 guests and raise upwards of $8,000 for deployed troops.
Most importantly, the dinner is hosted in honor of Lt. Dennis Zilinski II, a CBA and West Point graduate who was killed in action in 2005. SADD is proud to partner with Dennis’ parents, Dennis and Marion, and their Lt. Dennis Zilinski Foundation.
“What we do to keep Lt. Zilinski’s memory alive at CBA is really powerful,” SADD President Drew Valsamedis ’20 said. “It was really nice to see 200-plus people socializing, enjoying the dinner, and being present in the moment.”
The 250 guests enjoyed a dinner that was organized by the SADD students, with help from Angelo’s Pizza and owner John Sanfratello. As is the tradition since 2011, the Naval JROTC unit of the Marine Academy of Science and Technology presented the nation’s colors.
When all was said and done, the thousands of dollars raised will go towards purchasing gift cards for servicemen and servicewomen who are deployed during this holiday season.
All of this in honor of one of CBA’s bravest, Lt. Zilinski. A 2000 graduate of CBA, Zilinski had been captain of the Colts’ swim team. He would also go on to become captain of the men’s swim team at West Point, where he received the Class of 1923 Memorial Award for Outstanding Member. Zilinski was a rifle platoon leader with Bravo Company, First Battalion, 187th Infantry Regiment, Third Brigade Combat Team (Rakkasans), 101st Airborne Division out of Fort Campbell, Kentucky.
“The Dinner for the Troops has gotten bigger and better every single year,” SADD moderator Mr. Bill Frake said. “As more people are aware of the impact it has for the soldiers deployed overseas, more and more people want to be involved.”
Check out the recap video produced by Jonathan Heite ’20 of the CBA Digital Network below.