On Tuesday, June 4, 2024, Tunnel to Towers hosted a book launch event at Flagship Brewery in Staten Island, celebrating Tom Sileo’s biography of Army Staff Sgt. Michael Ollis, I Have Your Back, where the author signed copies of the new book.

Michael Ollis grew up on Staten Island, New York where he dreamed of becoming a soldier, just like his father and grandfather. While he was a student at Staten Island’s Petrides High School, he joined the Air Force ROTC, and enlisted in the armed services after his graduation at 17 years old. When the city that he loved was attacked on September 11, 2001, his desire to serve and protect his country only strengthened.

Ollis always wanted to become a better soldier. He was assigned to the 1st Armored Division, the 101st Airborne Assault Division, and the 10th Mountain Division throughout his seven years in the Army. Ollis strived to be the best, becoming an Army Ranger prior to becoming a paratrooper. He was later asked to join the “Audie Murphy Club,” a prestigious NCO organization.

SSG Michael Ollis served one tour in Iraq and two tours in Afghanistan. In January 2013, he left for his second deployment to Afghanistan and was expected home nine months later. However, on August 28, 2013, his base in Ghazni was attacked. SSG Ollis stepped in front of an injured Polish Officer, in an effort to save the Officer’s life. In doing so, SSG Ollis was killed in action. He was just 24 years old.

The Tunnel to Towers Foundation is proud of its longstanding relationship with the Ollis Family and the SSG Michael Ollis Freedom Foundation. In 2023, SSG Ollis’ sister, Kelly Ollis-Manzolillo, ran the TCS New York City Marathon with the Tunnel to Towers Foundation’s team.

SSG Ollis did what many wouldn’t have risked. He is a hero known for his selflessness to put others–his family, friends, and country–before himself. The Ollis Family trusted Tom Sileo to tell their story, and Tunnel to Towers is honored to host this event that shares SSG Ollis’ bravery and ensures his heroic legacy lives on.

Tom Sileo has authored or coauthored six military nonfiction books about heroes of America’s post-9/11 wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. His devotion to telling the stories of America’s heroes serves as an inspiration, and the Tunnel to Towers Foundation is proud to have aided in the launch of his incredible telling of the legacy of Staten Island hometown hero, SSG Michael Ollis.

Tom Sileo can be found on X at @TSileo, and I Have Your Back is available on Amazon.