America Supports You: Troop-Support Group Leader Earns Award
By Sharon Foster
Special to American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Aug. 28, 2008 The founder and president of a home-front support group in the Defense Department’s America Supports You program will be honored tomorrow for her continued support of the troops.
Lynelle Chauncey Zelnar of Forgotten Soldiers Outreach will be recognized at the Glory Awards, an annual event hosted by Community Neighborhood Helping in Delray Beach, Fla., which recognizes individuals, businesses and organizations for outstanding volunteerism and community involvement.
“I am so excited,” Zelnar said. “Although Forgotten Soldiers Outreach has received many honors, this is the first time I have personally received one for the work not only I do, but all my volunteers do in supporting the troops.
“This has never been about me,” she continued, “but [rather, it’s about] all the incredible support I get from everyone, including America Supports You. People are always looking for ways to support the troops, and through America Supports You, they are making that connection with home-front groups like Forgotten Soldiers Outreach.”
DoD’s America Supports You program connects citizens and companies with servicemembers and their families serving at home and abroad.
Edith Thompson, executive director of Community Neighborhood Helping, learned about Zelnar’s work while working at the local post office. Zelnar regularly came into the post office to mail care packages off to deployed troops. Being fully aware of Zelnar’s work on behalf of the troops, Thompson said, she felt it fitting to nominate her for this award.
“We think it is awesome what Zelnar and her group [are] doing,” Thompson said. “She is dedicated, she is faithful, and I know the troops feel a lot of love because of her. She deserves this recognition, and we are honored to honor her.”
Zelnar was inspired to start Forgotten Soldiers Outreach by a friend's son who was serving in Iraq in 2003. After hearing about him and other soldiers overseas becoming frustrated, discouraged, missing their loved ones and even questioning their purpose, Zelnar wanted to do something to help.
She sent e-mails to family and friends, requesting them to send letters, supplies and goodies to many of these soldiers. Over time, the response for those wanting to help grew. Today, Forgotten Soldiers Outreach has more than 100 volunteers and several drop-off centers that mail and ship packages to troops.
“We are not just simply sending encouragement to our troops,” Zelnar said. “We are making sure our brave men and women putting their lives on the line every day are not forgotten."