The parents of Staff Sergeant Michael Ollis received the Silver Star Award on his behalf at Fort Drum. YNN's Brian Dwyer has more on the emotional ceremony.
FORT DRUM, N.Y. -- It's a walk of pride, but also one of pain as the parents of Staff Sergeant Michael Ollis took their seats on Fort Drum Thursday for one final goodbye.
"Like a rollercoaster," said Robert Ollis, Michael's father. "We're extremely proud of Michael, his accomplishments, but we're tremendously sad."
The ceremony honoring the 25-year-old fallen soldier took that path. Some tears of sadness and, some laughs and memories.
"He's a great person to be around," said SPC Marshall Stanley, who served with Ollis. "Not just the best leader, but also one of the greatest people I know."
"A lot of sorrow," said CPL Zachary Burnett, another of Ollis' fellow 2-22 soldiers. "Pride as well. We miss him a lot. He's the best leader I ever had."
Statements not many could argue with after hearing how he died. In August, in Afghanistan, insurgents attacked. Ollis shielded a wounded Polish officer from a suicide bomber. A move that saved that officer's life and the lives of many other coalition troops and civilians, but it took his.
"George Patton said that when soldiers like this pass away, we shouldn't mourn their passing," Fort Drum Commanding General MG Stephen Townsend said. "We should thank God he lived."
George Patton was one the few to be awarded the Silver Star. During Thursday's ceremony, Michael Ollis joined the list. Townsend personally giving the medal to Michael's parents, who gave Ollis permission to join the army at the young age of 17.
"We knew what the situation was with Michael," Robert Ollis said of that decision. "We knew there was a tremendous chance that this knock on the door would come one day. But it's what my son wanted to do."
It's a decision they'd make all over again, even if it meant having to hold a Silver Star instead of him.
"I'm going to think of how brave my son is and how selfless he is and how proud I am of him and how I can't wait to see him again," Michael's mother Linda said.
Ollis was buried in his hometown on Staten Island.