Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Legacy of Hero Remembered by Team Hope For The Warriors® Member

After many months of training and fundraising, Team Hope For The Warriors® member, Nick Iacono, raised around $5,000 in honor of Staff Sergeant Michael Ollis in the 2015 United Airlines NYC Half Marathon. Nick alone was able to fundraise five times the required amount and went above and beyond to help Hope For The Warriors® in their mission of restoring self, family, and hope for all military families.

Nick met Michael’s family through his work in the office of his hometown Staten Island congressman, a Marine combat veteran himself. In 2013, Nick had the privilege to welcome the Ollis family, including Michael’s father Bob, mother Linda, and sisters Kim and Kelly, to the congressman’s office in Washington, D.C., where he gave them a tour of the Capitol. Inspired by Michael’s story, Nick was determined to contribute to the efforts to preserve Michael's memory and heroic sacrifice.

Staff Sergeant Michael Ollis of Staten Island, NY, served with valor and honor through his time in Afghanistan. On August 28, 2013, Michael sacrificed his own life and saved a Polish service member, Karol Cierpica, from a suicide attack. A year later, the Cierpica family announced they were expecting a baby boy and planned to name their son after Michael Ollis. Michael’s parents were able to go to Poland to visit with the Cierpicas and meet with Polish dignitaries, including the president, prime minister, and military leaders. In January of 2015, Michael Cierpica was born and will carry on the legacy of Michael Ollis.

Knowing Michael’s story and being an involved member of the Staten Island community, Nick desired to continue his memory. “Michael truly embodies, to me and to so many Staten Islanders, the very definition of a hometown hero, and even more than that, an American hero,” said Nick. “I think that his astounding bravery and sacrifice for our freedom—which is also borne by his family—deserves recognition and remembrance. So, the decision to dedicate my run to him and his memory was an easy one.”

Nick became hooked on distance running after a friend encouraged him to train and run in the Staten Island Half in October 2014. The 2015 United Airlines NYC Half was his second half and he plans to do more distance races both in New York and Washington, D.C.

Nick ran a successful NYC Half on Team Hope For The Warriors®, and said, “I cannot express how grateful I am to Hope For The Warriors® for giving me an opportunity to honor Michael's memory while at the same time supporting our country's best and bravest.”

Hope For The Warriors® stands with Nick in honoring Staff Sergeant Michael Ollis and his family, and would like to thank Nick for his amazing contribution and dedication to military families.

On April 26, 2015 Hope For The Warriors® presented Nick with a certificate for his fundraising efforts  at a V.F.W. event honoring Michael Ollis. 

Nick (holding frame) with Robert Ollis (Blue shirt), Michael's father 

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