Go Fund Me to help St. Catharines’ soldier’s funeral costs nears mark

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Published May 2, 2023 at 10:47 am

Cole Zelenco, right, with his family during quieter times. (Photo: Go Fund Me)

The Go Fund Me created for a St. Catharines soldier who died in the Ukraine-Russia conflict on April 26 is edging closer to its goal.

At just 21 years old, Cole Zelenco and four others were in a bunker in the fiercely contested Ukrainian city of Bakhmut. The bunker took a direct hit from Russian artillery and all five died.

As of this morning (May 2), the Go Fund Me, targeted for $50,000, had hit $40,738 in an effort to help the family with costs of his body’s transportation and funeral.

Created by family friend David Altamirano, the Go Fund Me said the fight in Ukraine was something Zelenco was “was intensely passionate about.”

“Cole was a great man and a close friend to many, he was known as a strong and courageous person. Cole served in the Canadian Armed Forces for 4 years before releasing to join the fight in Ukraine; a cause he was intensely passionate about. He performed two tours in Ukraine in 2022 and 2023.”

It continued to say, “It is apparent more than ever how special Cole truly was and how he touched so many lives. We would like to announce that Cole died a hero among the Ukranian community and military. Cole died a hero in the field of life through his kindness, sense of humor, humility and fierce sense of loyalty.”

Noting that an honourary ceremony for Zelenco has already taken place in Ukraine, it added, “In Canada there will be a funeral, a celebration of life and a private ceremony.”

The Go Fund Me for the fallen soldier from St. Catharines call be found HERE.

With the death of Zelenco and fellow soldier, Kyle Porter, 27, of Calgary, there have now been five known Canadians to die in the Ukraine-Russian war.

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