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Lake Worth Beach nonprofit asks for help supporting deployed service members

Forgotten Soldiers Outreach to hold 9 packing events in March
Specialist Justin Hessinger in the Florida National Guard
Posted at 4:08 PM, Feb 25, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-25 20:05:26-05

LAKE WORTH BEACH, Fla. — The families of military members are uneasy as Russia continues its attack on Ukraine.

Specialist Justin Hessinger, a husband and father who serves in the Florida National Guard, has always had the drive to serve his country.

"He just recently, within the last couple of years, decided to join the military. It's been a big adjustment for our family," said wife Leah Hessinger.

Specialist Justin Hessinger in the Florida National Guard
Specialist Justin Hessinger serves in the Florida National Guard.

Hessinger's Fort Pierce unit was deployed in October and is stationed in the Middle East.

With the violence escalating in eastern Europe, Hessinger's wife is watching closely as Russia presses closer to Ukraine's capital of Kyiv.

"I get anxious at times if there's certain times when I don't hear from him or know what's going on," Leah Hessinger said. "On the civilian side, it's hard, but we take it one day at a time."

While our servicemen and women are away from their families, Forgotten Soldiers Outreach in Lake Worth Beach works to provide a morale boost, sending a monthly care package overseas. However, numbers have been growing with more deployments since February.

Empty Bins at Forgotten Soldiers Outreach
Empty bins at the Forgotten Soldiers Outreach in Lake Worth Beach.

"They're all located out in Poland," said Lynelle Zelnar, CEO and founder of Forgotten Soldiers Outreach. "We had a unit that was a local unit in the Ukraine. Now, they've moved some of them to other locations."

The number of registered recipients has climbed by more than 750 soldiers.

After February's packings, the shelves inside the Lake Worth Beach warehouse are bare. Nine packing events are scheduled in March.

"We really need the community's support now more than ever because the troops are there to protect us too," Zelnar said. "We need to let them know they're not forgotten."

Lynelle Zelnar, CEO and founder of Forgotten Soldiers Outreach
Lynelle Zelnar speaks about the need for donations to fulfill the care packages for soldiers.

Toiletries, hygiene items and snacks are all items that are desperately needed for the soldiers while they are in harm's way and far from home.

"A soldier deployed is a soldier deployed, and it is an extremely emotional thing," Leah Hessinger said. "So, just show your support whenever you can."

Forgotten Soldiers Outreach is expecting more names and more deployments next week.

Check out the links below on how you can help: