Fifth Annual ‘Toast to Dennis’ Set for Sept. 7

August 23, 2013
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HOLMDEL – Known for its annual Run with Dennis, the Lt. Dennis W. Zilinski II Memorial Fund will host its fifth annual Toast to Dennis food and wine event from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 7, at the home of Debbie and Bill Rustico.

“This year, guests can take part in live and silent auctions,” said Marion Zilinski, mother of Dennis and co-founder of the fund. “We will also have an exciting reverse auction for service dogs who will become invaluable partners to veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress syndrome or traumatic brain injury. Studies have shown that service

dogs can help these severely wounded heroes resume the daily activities they enjoyed prior to sustaining damaging combat injuries.

“We have already donated service dogs, which come to us through K9s for Warriors, to three veterans – two of whom are from NJ – and we hope to raise additional funds to provide dogs to even more veterans in need,” she said.

The auctioneer will be Big Joe Henry of New Jersey 101.5.

The Sept. 7 event will be held at the Rusticos’ residence, called Waterwatch. Built in 1902, the home, one of the original homes of the Monmouth Hills Historic District, is a 14-room center hall colonial built in Nantucket shingle style.

The donations raised by the wine and food event will benefit the Lt. Dennis W. Zilinski II Memorial Fund. The fund was founded in 2006 in order to honor local resident 1st Lt. Dennis W. Zilinski II, United States Army, who was killed in action while deployed in Iraq on Nov. 19, 2005.

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“This year our selection of wine, food and auction items is outstanding, and we hope to attract a larger crowd than ever before,” said Rick Marshall, owner of Red Bank Title Agency, who is chair of this year’s Toast to Dennis committee as well as the all-volunteer board.

Former White House Chef John Grifo is participating for the fifth year and will prepare an extensive tasting menu. Grifo has been honored as one of Southern New Jersey’s top 25 chefs by Atlantic City magazine.

Marshall notes that sponsorships and contributions are still available for the live and silent auctions. Additional volunteers are still welcome.

Contact event planner Christine Burke Eskwitt 732-688-8079 or, for reservations or more information. Tickets are $150 per person and sponsorships are available. Valet parking will be provided.

Information regarding the event is available via the charity’s website


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