Bits & Pieces: Zitnay family says goodbye to daughter Jenny, 'the love of our lives'

Life has has been bittersweet for Gail and Andy Zitnay recently. First the sweet.

Andy was recently selected to be inducted into the Maryland Slow Pitch Hall of Fame after years of devoted service. Then on Jan. 23, their daughter, Katie, one of the best softball pitchers to ever come out of Howard County, gave birth to a son, Andy Stanton.

Then came the bitter part when their daughter, Jenny, died Feb. 5 at the age of 32. She suffered from a rare neurologic disorder.

Jenny was the type of individual that everybody loved and she battled on despite her serious health issues.

"She was the love of our lives," Andy said. "If good people go to heaven, we know where Jenny's going."

It is difficult for many of us to accept when a precious person like Jenny leaves us so early. It has been a wrenching time for the Zitnays and we hope that they will somehow find the strength to work through this. May Jenny rest in peace.

Maryland ice hockey to raise money for wounded vets

The University of Maryland's Division III ice hockey team will host an exhibition game against the USA Warriors Feb. 19 at 1:30 p.m. at the Wells Ice Rink in College Park. The game is a fundraiser for America's VetDogs, the organization that provides service dogs to wounded veterans. The service dogs assist blind veterans and those with other physical disabilities, and relieve combat stress.

The USA Warriors team consists of wounded veterans, and the Maryland team includes several Howard County graduates.

Game tickets are $7. Donations are also accepted. To contribute, email

Scholarships available

Special Olympics Howard County is offering three scholarships to outstanding student volunteers who have demonstrated their commitment to the program through their volunteer efforts. The $1,500 Jackie Burk Memorial Award, was created by Jack and Linda Burk in memory of their daughter.

The $1,000 Allan Homes Award is donated by longtime Special Olympics supporters Allan and Kathy Washak.

An additional $500 scholarship is named for Kathy Lindner, the Special Olympics' first volunteer coordinator.

Scholarship applications are available at The application must be accompanied by at least one recommendation from a Special Olympics Howard County coach, management team member or sports coordinator. In addition, the applicant must write a 500-word essay on his or her experience as a volunteer.

Applications should be mailed to Special Olympics Howard County, ATTN: Scholarship Committee, 8970 Route 108, Suite A-1, Columbia, MD 21045, and postmarked no later than March 31.

Time flies

It is hard to believe that it has been 16 years since the first Women's Sports Hall of Fame inductions were held. On Feb. 4 at Mt. Hebron High School, five women were inducted, and this event seems to get better every year.

The evening began with an alumnae basketball game that brought back players from every decade since the 1980s, though not all the older players were the ones huffing and puffing.

There was a bit of humor at the start of the second half when officials substituted a deflated basketball. When Kacy Williams Valentine attempted to dribble the ball, it went nowhere. The look on Kacy's face was priceless.

A Face in the Crowd

Check out the Feb. 5 Sports Illustrated "Faces in the Crowd" to see Glenelg graduate Robby Creese, a Penn State freshman, who recently set an American Junior and NCAA record in the 1,000 meters at the Nittany Lions Challenge in January.

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