FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Nick Iacono, SSG Michael Ollis Freedom Foundation
P: (718) 887-6522 | E-Mail: Iacono.Nicholas@gmail.com
President of Poland Andrej Duda Cites SSG Michael Ollis in Letter to President Trump Commemorating America’s Independence Day
STATEN ISLAND, NY – (Thursday, June 6, 2017) Today, the SSG Michael Ollis Freedom Foundation issued the following statement of gratitude in response to President Andrej Duda of Poland’s mention of SSG Michael Ollis in his July 4 official correspondence to President Donald J. Trump:
“We are proud and honored to have Michael’s name and heroic sacrifice invoked by President Duda of Poland as a testament to the strong bonds of fellowship between the United States and Poland,” said Robert and Linda Ollis, co-founders of the SSG Michael Ollis Freedom Foundation and the parents of fallen Army SSG Michael Ollis. “Michael selflessly gave his life to shield his fellow soldier, Carol Cierpica of Poland, because that’s who he was, and we are so grateful to the Polish government and people for continuing to honor Michael’s memory and help us tell his amazing story.”
SSG Michael Ollis heroically sacrificed his life to shield Polish Lt. Karol Cierpica from a suicide attack when their forward operating base (FOB) in Afghanistan was ambushed in a suicide attack in 2013. Since then, Karol, the Polish government, the Polish & Slavic Federal Credit Union, and countless members of the Polish-American community (especially here on Staten Island) have worked hard to commemorate the memory and heroic sacrifice of SSG Ollis. In fact, the Polish Government posthumously awarded SSG Ollis the Army Gold Medal, Poland’s highest honor for a foreign soldier, and when the Lt. Cierpica’s baby boy was born in 2015, they named him Michael in honor of SSG Ollis.
In addition, this past June, the SSG Michael Ollis Freedom Foundation held its First Annual SSG Michael Ollis Memorial 5K Run/Walk in New Dorp on Staten Island, which was attended by Maciej Golubiewski, Consul General of the Republic of Poland in New York, Colonel Jacek Stochel from Poland’s Embassy in Washington, DC.
See below for the full text of President Duda’s letter with his comments regarding SSG Ollis highlighted. President Duda’s letter was sent on the occasion of American Independence Day and President Donald Trump’s historic state visit to Poland this week.
Letter by the President Andrzej Duda to the President of the USA on the occasion of the Independence Day
Tuesday, 4 July 2017
“On the occasion of the National Day of the United State of America: the Independence Day, I wish to offer into your hands, Sir, our congratulations and best wishes from the Polish Nation and me personally.
The Republic of Poland and the United States of America are bound by traditional bonds of friendship, by the strategic partnership founded on our shared values, and by respect of our mutual interests. The Polish Americans, the Polonia, are also an important reference in our relations. I am greatly pleased that in the course of your presidential campaign, Sir, you have found the time to meet this community which is very close to my heart.
The additional, undoubted, strengthening element in our close relationship is the fraternity of arms among our soldiers, forged in Iraq, Afghanistan and other hotspots of the modern world. Especially, the action of a 24-year-old Staff Sergeant Michael H. Ollis, who during the Taliban attack on the base in Ghazni in August 2013, Afghanistan, gave his life shielding with his own body a Polish Lieutenant Karol, Cierpica, was firmly imprinted in the collective memory of the Polish people. For saving the life of a Polish officer, he was posthumously decorated by the Polish authorities with the Star of Afghanistan, and the Gold Medal of the Polish Army.
I have a particular appreciation for the American contribution to the security guarantees to the European Allies located along NATO’s Eastern flank, which is exemplified by the deployment of the American troops in the region, including Poland. It is with satisfaction that I have been following the implementation of decision made at last year’s NATO Summit in Warsaw, as well as their reaffirmation at the recent meeting of Heads of States and Governments from NATO states in Brussels.
To me, as President of the Republic of Poland and to my Compatriots, but also to the states of Central Europe, affiliated with the Three Seas Initiative, your decision, Sir, to accept our invitation to visit Poland and to take part in in the Summit meeting of the Initiative on July 6, is of paramount importance. I count on fruitful bilateral and multilateral talks which will further testify to our commitment in building transatlantic bonds. I am deeply convinced that the meeting of leaders of states from this part of Europe, focused on tightening economic investment, business and infrastructural cooperation, will go down as a success, also thanks to your attendance thereof, Sir.
Mr. President, please, accept once again, my very best wishes for all success in carrying out of your noble and responsible mission of holding the office of the President of the United States. Let me also extend my good wishes of prosperity and success to Your, Sir, Your Family, Colleagues, and to All the People of the United States.”
President of the Republic of Poland