Wisdom of Life

Our People

Lynelle Chauncey Zelnar, Executive Director and Founder Lynelle stepped up to the plate to spearhead this needed outreach in October 2003.  Her efforts began with the gathering of a few boxes of items consisting of Gatorade, snacks, magazines, hygiene products, etc. along with a few letters to send to the initial three soldiers whose names she obtained from a local family.

Lynelle then contacted the owners of The Oasis Coffee House to try to gather more supplies and letters of encouragement for the three soldiers.  Her commitment prompted a few local teachers to start a letter writing campaign.  It also brought in additional items to package and ship than she initially expected.

Through the years, it’s amazing to see how Lynelle’s ambition to help encourage soldiers has turned into such a flourishing and nationally known organization with businesses, corporations, religious groups, schools (from daycares to colleges), and individuals from all over the United States contributing to this mission.

The response from our troops is why we do what we do!

BOARD OF DIRECTORS, As of 1/11/2014

Jay Cashmere, National Chairman of the Board  Jay is a news anchor and reporter for WPTV News Channel 5 and WFLX Fox 29 in West Palm Beach, Florida.  He has been with FSO since it’s inception in October of 2003 and has grown with FSO covering countless stories along the way, the more recent came this past Thanksgiving.   Over the last 8 years, Jay has served as Vice Chairman of the Board.   Jay also has a long list of award-winning stories to his credit.  He is a dedicated journalist, who is also committed to his station’s longtime reputation as a community-minded station.   Jay continues his outstanding community service work.  He was one of the first reporters in Florida to bring the work of FSO to the attention of South Florida television viewers.

“It’s my honor to serve as FSO’s Chairmen picking up where Bob Nichols left off. We are so thankful for his direction, leadership and confidence in FSO. I look forward to continuing the mission for our troops with Bob, Chuck, along with the other board members, our team and all our volunteers.”   “I can’t think of a better way than to join hands with Forgotten Soldiers Outreach and say thanks to all who fight for our freedom. I look forward to many more years helping our men and women in uniform know they are not forgotten,” Says Cashmere.

Bob Nichols, Immediate Past Chairman of the Board  Bob had a television career which spanned 33 years in Palm Beach County, Florida.  Bob’s career included working at WPTV and WPEC, both as a weatherman and a news anchor.  He is also a licensed professional auctioneer, commercial talent, and nationally recognized motivational speaker.  Bob will continue to remain on the Board and serve as one of our big advocates in spreading the word about our mission.

Chuck Debevec, Vice Chairman of the Board  Chuck served in the United States Marine Corps for 9 years and is married to his wife, Marie.  Chuck and Marie are parents to 5 children.  Chuck has been involved with FSO for about 3 years, not knowing that his son would be one of the recipients of FSO’s “We Care” packages while in Iraq. Chuck said, “I really got involved when I was announcing at a race track during a fundraiser and found out that Lynelle knew my son who was still in Iraq.”

Christine Annelies Mouring, Secretary  Christine is an attorney at law practicing in Palm Beach County, Florida.  Christine is actively involved with the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) and also serves on several other Boards.

Art Snow, Treasurer  Art has been married to his wife, Marianne, for 29 years and they have two sons. Their son, Nicholas, received his Masters’ Degree in Economics from San Jose State and is continuing his education in a PhD program. Their son, Andrew, is a Sergeant in the United States Army and stationed at Fort Hood, Texas.  Andrew is a veteran of two tours in Iraq and was an Infantry Soldier as well as a Bradley Commander in Iraq.

As the Director of the Tennis Program at The Country Club in Boca Raton, Florida, Art has raised thousands and thousands of dollars for FSO through annual golf & tennis tournaments. Marianne is active in helping our local National Guard Unit Family Readiness Program based in Hollywood, Florida.  At their 2007 holiday dinner dance, Marianne was presented with a plaque for her service.

Both Art and Marianne have been extremely involved and committed volunteers with FSO since 2004.

Elizabeth Varian, Director/Webmaster  Elizabeth specializes in Intranet/Internet consulting which includes, but is not limited to, site design and development along with Internet marketing.  Elizabeth is quite familiar and effective in putting strategies to use on the Internet that enhance real world marketing efforts and strategies.

Elizabeth says, “This outreach captured my heart from the beginning.  Being a military brat myself of two Vietnam Vets, I love that our soldiers are not forgotten or pushed to the backburner because of political differences like those of past conflicts.”

Dennis Bixler, Director  Born and raised in East Windsor, Connecticut, where he met and married his high school sweetheart. They have 2 sons, that serve as professional firefighters.

My public service began as a volunteer firefighter , continuing as the North Central Connecticut  emergency Medical Services coordinator. Which entailed organizing and implementing the first, all volunteer Emergency Ambulance Service ,for the town of East Windsor.  Staffed 100% by certified EMT’s, 24 hrs a day.  This opened way into Law Enforcement,I served on the East Windsor Police Dept for 9 yrs .Continuing my career on served as Director of Security in the healthcare and hospitality industry.

For 8 yrs my wife Anne and I owned and operated a Bridal Boutique. Soon after transitioning our family to Florida about 25 yrs ago.I began working for Diocese of Palm Beach as facility management for several parishes.

I was introduced  to forgotten soldiers outreach, just shortly after my  nephew  corporal Stephen R. Bixler was killed in Iraqi during combat  operations.  Unable to attend all the programs set up in Stephens memory in Connecticut where My family resides , we connected with F S O and have made this our focus in Stephens honor and memory.  Allowing me to continue serving our nations  Herod and their families as well as our active service.

FSO TEAM and OPERATIONAL SUPPORT:

Jeanelle Avallone, Asstistant to Executive Director/Team Member   Jeanelle is an Air Force mom to son, Staff Sargent, Michael Marez.  Jeanelle became involved with FSO in 2007 by signing up as a volunteer.  As a mother of a serviceman, she knows how hard it is to send a package.

Jeanelle is originally from Southern California.  Her goal is to always strive to make sure everyone is taken care of.   She says, “FSO is an organization that has allowed me to become someone special and stand out in the crowd as an Air Force Mom.  I appreciate that greatly.  I love what I do.”

Jeanelle’s primary assignment is to assist  Executive Director Lynelle, in ALL aspects of the organization; including, but not limited to, managing the National Operation Center and overseeing the services that FSO provides to the public.  Her most important duty is overseeing FSO’s mission of sending “We Care” packages to our United States Military personnel serving overseas.

Jeanelle goes on to say, “I always wanted to make sure that my son had everything he needs while he was deployed fighting for our freedom.  With FSO, I know that we can make a difference to support our troops as they put their lives on the line to make a difference for us here at home.  By volunteering, I feel this is my way to tell our troops, ‘THANK YOU for what you do, day in and day out.’”

Sue Beard, Former Treasurer, Palm Beach County Manager and current Finance Manager/CFO/Team Member  Sue has a vast knowledge of the financial picture for non-profit businesses, as well as for-profit businesses.  Sue monitors the expenses incurred and acts as a liaison with the Corporate Accountant, the donors, as well as the Government, which has strict guidelines for 501C Organizations such as FSO.

Sue also spends many hours volunteering for the different events.

John Oldham, Community Relations/Team Member  John has served 12 years with the Florida Army National Guard.  John was introduced to FSO through another non-profit Veterans group.

John has been volunteering since September 2007.  As Public Relations Manager, he is responsible for promoting FSO via public speaking at different clubs, schools and organizations, as well as soliciting for such to hold events and fundraisers.  His primary goal is to bring exposure and raise funds for FSO.  However, John’s other interests include traveling and watching sports.

Helen Saucier, Packing Events Manager/Former Warehouse Manager/Team Member  One day, Helen wanted to send a package to a soldier in Iraq or Afghanistan.  She found a site on the internet, prepared a package and went to the Boynton Beach Post Office to mail it.  The clerk who waited on her told her about FSO and she attended an “inventory” event.  Her brother and husband were stationed in Vietnam and she remembered sending them packages 30 years ago and how much it meant to them.

Helen is a Controller for a country club and goes to the FSO warehouse just about every night, counting and sorting donations and organizing the items.  It never ceases to amaze her at the generosity of strangers and how people from all over the country send donations.  Letters of encouragement are also written and received from individuals as well as churches, schools and other organizations to enclose in the packages.

Helen says, “Mail call is an exciting time for the soldiers and many do not have family who can afford to send them anything.  Our “We Care” packages and letters assure them that they are “Not Forgotten.”  I’m honored to be a part of this organization.”

Barbara and Kevin O’Connor,Warehouse Co-Managers/Team Members 

Kevin & Barbara are the proud parents to Cassandra!! They became involved after seeing it on the news about 4 years ago.  They wanted to continue to teach Cassie to help others and this great organization welcomed ALL of them with open arms!!

Gina Abbananto, volunteer manager, in 2013, retired as Captain of Support Services Division at City of Greenacres Department of Public Safety after 26 1/2 years!   Gina says there’s quite a few organizations out there looking for volunteers. I wanted to give my time to an organization that was professional, transparent and did what they said they would do. What Forgotten Soldiers Outreach does for our deployed soldiers is amazing and insures that we do not forget our deployed men and women.

Mary Liguori,  Team Member

Bill Arcuri, Veterans Affairs Liaison/Team Member  Bill became involved with FSO in the fall of 2006 when he responded to an event by WIRK supporting FSO. Having served two tours in Vietnam and being a combat veteran and former POW he understands the sacrifices made by the men and women serving this great country. The vast majority of Vietnam Veterans never received a “welcome home” or received a “thank you” for their service when they returned home. Bill believes that with the work being done by FSO, we will ensure the current Veterans are supported while deployed and recognized for their service when they are back home.

Kim Gill, Broward Public Relations/Team Member

Darren Wilbur, Broward Public Relations/Team Member

Tara Laxer, Public Relations/Team Member/Chairman for Annual Red, White & Blue Support our Troops Blue Martini Event   Tara is an honorary board member of FSO and started with the organization in 2005.  Her dedication to the troops came from her hands-on work with those who served in WWII, Vietenam and Korea to her own friends who have served in Iraq and Afganistan. As the former chief of staff to a local State Senator, Tara has worked on policy regarding PTSD and she continues to do so working with a variety of non-profit organizations in the area.  She believes our veterans are the greatest natural resource our country has both past and present and they all should be treated as such.  FSO reminds the troops when they are serving overseas, when they return or when they are being deployed they have a extended family they can count on.

Rosemary A. Mouring, Memorial Day Event Organizer and co-chairperson Rosemary was raised in North Palm Beach, Florida and is married to Robert H. Mouring, III.  Rosemary and Robert have 2 sons and 6 grandchildren.

Rosemary became interested in FSO while attending a Memorial Day service at Royal Palm Memorial Park in May of 2004.  Partnered with FSO in 2005 to organize an Annual Memorial Day Service in Lantana, Florida at Palm Beach Memorial Park.  Working with FSO gives her a chance to honor and give back to our Veterans and let them know we appreciate the sacrifice they make to keep us free.

Lisa Minns, Event Chair for Bru’s Room Annual Soldiers Festival Lisa became involved with FSO through her mother who worked at a Coldwell Banker office in West Boca and they had a silent auction to benefit FSO. She is friends with the manager of Bru’s Room and knew that Bru’s liked to do events for charity groups. Through her love for event planning, the 1st Annual SoldierFest was born. Lisa believed in what FSO was doing but had no money to give so her contribution became organizing fundraisers. Since the 1st Annual SoldierFest she has also organized several happy hour fundraisers at Village Tavern and Murphy’s Law HardRock.

Cassandra (Cassie) O’Connor, FSO Student Ambassador/Fundraiser  Cassie is from Lake Worth, Florida.

Cassie started doing this about 4 years ago.  She is FSO’s first student ambassador and is currently at Christa McAuliffe Middle School. Cassie has raised over $10,000 for FSO!!   She does fundraising events all year round. Her other interests are Tae Kwon Do, Reading, Disney World, Webkinz, and HELPING OUR TROOPS by raising money for them!!

Michael Coleman, Speakers Guild. Michael is retired from the Air Force and served in the Vietnam Conflict.  Michael has been involved with FSO since 2004, serving in many capacities, including, but not limited to, Volunteer Manager and Assistant to the Palm Beach County Manager and National Headquarters Administrator.

Michael is also a member of the Disabled Veterans Association (DVA) and served during Vietnam and the Cold War eras.  His son is in the US Air Force and is a member of the Alaskan Air Reserve with more than 14 years of service.  Michael also serves on the FSO Speaking Guild.

Michael says, “I started out with FSO because I had a vehicle big enough to help take the “We Care” packages to the Post Office.  By doing that, I saw a need for me to do something to give back to my country.  I saw a need to give something to a family that is much bigger than my own.  That family is all of the men and women who are serving in all of the branches of the military.  By taking on the ideas of this organization, and taking it to the point of a passion with me, as well as the fact that I have this personal part, which is my son who has been sent in harms way on several occasions, makes this organization very close to my heart.”

Lisa Pigliavento, Former Packing Event Co-Manager, Public Relations & Resident Poetic Encourager, volunteers at the packing and other FSO events. Lisa writes poems to encourage our soldiers as well as the other volunteers.

Lisa loves volunteering because the joy the soldiers get from receiving “We Care” packages gives her joy in return.

Jorge Suarez, Certified Public Accountant with the State of Florida Jorge  currently works with Florida Crystals Corporation, as the Manager of Production Accounting.  Jorge has been employed with Florida Crystals Corporation for more than 14 years.

Jorge graduated from Florida State University with a degree in Finance and also from Florida Atlantic University with a degree in Accounting.

Jorge says, “It is a privilege to be a part of a growing organization that is helping thousands and thousands of our United States servicemen and women serving overseas and their families.”

HONORARY BOARD MEMBERS:

 Major General Wayne P. Jackson;  SSGT Walter Brown (first group of recipients);  Specialist Brian Desantis (first group of recipients);  Congressman Allen West;  Congressman Ted Deutch; Senator Jeff Atwater;  Tara Laxer;  WWII Nurse Colonel Banna Ghioto; Former Vietnam POW Bill Arcuri;  Former News Anchor and Reporter Corey Saban; National Recording Artist/W4CY Radio & I-TV Host-JD Danner; and National Country Singer, Amber Leigh, Betty Thomas, of the Condo News, along with Rochelle Gaenger Councilwoman District 3 City of Greenacres.

 

THRIFT STORE:
Mike Zelnar, Store Manager, married to Executive Director and Founder, Lynelle.  Mike has served with the United States Air Force from 1981-1992.  He was a Commercial Fisherman for many years in the Florida Keys, where he met Lynelle.   He’s owned  and designed his own fishing lure company. Also has been involved with the retail end of merchandising for many years.   A very hands on person, who also performs maintenance.   Mike states that he has always supported this mission and that “My heart has always been for our military and to be involved with such a great organization to give back to our military abroad and at home, is a dream come true”.
Kaye Emrick, Floor Manager, Managed state and federal non-profit programs for 23 years. Owned two successful retail businesses. I found FSO Thrift Store, heard the organizations history and mission and had to volunteer. I’m pleased to be part of a great team serving our troops and veterans.

In the Florida Keys: Radio D.J. (Thunder Country 100.3) and local Celebrity, Dougie Hitchcock;  Radio D.J. and local celebrity, Captain Don Mull (Keys Radio Group), Fisherman.

About Author: Lynelle

Forgotten Soldiers Outreach is a non-profit organization that ships care packages filled with donated items and letters to the United States military men and women actively serving overseas.

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