Veterans Groups to Host Candlelight Vigil for Slain Staten Island Solider

By Nicholas Rizzi on September 4, 2013 7:20am 

 Staff Sgt. Michael H. Ollis, 24, of Staten Island, was killed on Aug. 28, 2013, in Ghanzi Province, Afghanistan.
Staff Sgt. Michael H. Ollis, 24, of Staten Island, was killed on Aug. 28, 2013, in Ghanzi Province, Afghanistan.
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U.S. Army

GREAT KILLS — A local veterans organization will hold a candlelight vigil on Wednesday night for the U.S. Army soldier who was killed last week in Afghanistan.

The Staten Island Veteran Group will host the vigil for Staff Sgt. Michael Ollis, 24, of New Dorp, at the Great Kills Veterans Memorial, near the Great Kills train station, starting at 8:30 p.m., according to their Facebook page.

Ollis, an infantryman, was killed last week from wounds he sustained when his unit was attacked with an improvised explosive device and gunfire in the Ghanzi Province, the Department of Defense said.

"Today, we are mourning the loss of a New Yorker who volunteered to put himself in harm’s way to protect the freedoms we all enjoy," Mayor Michael Bloomberg said in a statement last week. "As New Yorkers, we owe a special debt of gratitude to those who serve in our military, because New York City is in many ways America’s greatest symbol of freedom."

Ollis joined the army in August 2006, and was previously deployed to Iraq from 2008 to 2009 and Afghanistan in 2010 to 2011, a spokesman for the U.S. base in Fort Drum, N.Y., said.

Organizers asked attendees to bring their own candles to the vigil. Flowers brought to the vigil will be moved to Ollis’ parents home in New Dorp afterwards.

The vigil is expected to last an hour, the Staten Island Veteran Group said.

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