Coast Guardsman raises $12,000 for Fallen Heroes Fund

Posted on February 24, 2019

LT Duane T. Zitta, Command Duty Officer for the 14th Coast Guard District in Hawaii, raised $12,000 competing in ultra-endurance races throughout 2018 and early 2019 for the Coast Guard Foundation’s Fallen Heroes Fund.

Zitta, who has been in the Coast Guard for over 15 years, says the initial idea of raising funds was small, but quickly became something bigger than he ever imagined. After setting a goal of raising $5,000, and quickly reaching it, the cause grew and grew.

“When I reflect on the last year of fundraising, training, and racing I can’t help but think of the families who have endured the ultimate sacrifice,” said Zitta. “Every difficult challenge I faced this year was welcomed as I knew that each one of them would raise our goal higher and higher.”

Over the course of the year Zitta had the opportunity to meet with families of the fallen who had heard about his journey, which included the wife and daughter of CAPT Thomas G. Nelson. CAPT Nelson was one of four crew members from Coast Guard helicopter CG-6505 who died when their HH-65 Dolphin rescue helicopter tragically went down in the ocean five miles off Honolulu airport during a training flight on September 4, 2008.

His daughter, Adriana Nelson, is an alumna of the Fallen Heroes Scholarship which covered 100 percent of her college expenses, traveled to support Zitta’s final fundraising event and together present Linda Naugle, the Foundation’s Regional Director of Philanthropy, with the $12,000 check.