Decorated Fallen Veteran Honored

Decorated Fallen Veteran Honored on Staten Island

STATEN ISLAND, NY (NOVEMBER 5, 2015)—In his 24 short years of life, Army Staff Sergeant Michael Ollis managed to accomplish more than many people do in a lifetime by garnering a Bronze Star, a Purple Heart, a Silver Star, the Audie Murphy Medallion and the Polish Armed Forces Gold Medal for his many heroic efforts, the last of which sadly cost him his life. So it comes as no surprise that on November 4, he was memorialized in bronze at his alma mater, Michael J. Petrides School on Staten Island.

“There is no doubt Michael Ollis is a hero on not only Staten Island but worldwide,” said NJ sculptor Brian Hanlon who collaborated with Staten Island artist Gregory Perillo on the project. “I am honored to be able to commend his bravery, commitment and sacrifice through art and perhaps provide solace to the many friends, servicemen and family members who miss him. To have the courage to enlist at only 17 is remarkable, and that courage never waned.”

Led by a 21-gun salute by U.S. Marines, a ceremony was held at the K-12 school to unveil the eight-foot bronze statue mounted on a three-foot granite base with “OLLIS” and a biography carved in the front.

Behind the statue stand four engraved granite benches and three black granite panels honoring all the servicemembers from Staten Island killed in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. The panels are engraved with their portraits, names, ages, and dates. The middle panel has an etched flag and seals of the five branches of the military.

Ollis was killed in Afghanistan on August 28, 2013, after stepping in front of a Polish officer who was under siege from an insurgent wearing a suicide vest. As a result of his valor, he is being recommended as the name of the new Staten Island Ferry and was recognized as Staten Island’s Most Influential Person of 2013.

Ollis remained committed to the Army for seven years, belonging to the 1st Armor Division, the 101st Airborne Assault Division (where he obtained his assault wings), and the 10th Mountain Division. In order to become a better soldier, he went through a grueling three-month period of training to become an Army Ranger. In total, he served one tour of duty in Iraq and two tours in Afghanistan.

“There is no doubt Michael will be missed, but the amazing legacy he left behind is intact and will continue to influence future men and women of our armed forces,” Hanlon added.

For more photos, please visit: Staff Sgt. Michael Ollis Memorial Plaza


Brian P. Hanlon is a classically-trained master sculptor and founder of Hanlon Sculpture Studio; a full-service art studio that designs, creates, and installs awe-inspiring and signature monuments featuring bronze, aluminum, stainless steel and granite sculptures, illustrative and informational graphics, and interactive kiosks.

Hanlon Sculpture Studio provides complete site design services from sculptures to hard and softscapes, and offers total project management from design to installation and unveiling.  In collaboration with administrative and athletic staff at colleges and universities, the studio develops the scope of artwork projects that are designed to enhance the spirit, pride and tradition of athletics and the campus community.