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His battlefield bravery was so heroic that the city named a Staten Island Ferry boat after him.
But it wasn’t enough for Mayor de Blasio to loosen up on his coronavirus rules.
The parents of Army Sgt. Michael Ollis, the 24-year-old Staten Islander killed in Afghanistan in 2013 as he shielded a wounded Polish soldier from an insurgent suicide bomber’s blast, say they received a de facto denial this week on a permit for the annual 5k run that honors their hometown hero son.
“We have almost 500 people signed up already,” Bob Ollis said of the June 13 event, the primary source of income for the nonprofit Staff Sgt. Michael Ollis Freedom Foundation.
“The local police precinct wants to help us,” Ollis told The Post. “They’re saying, ‘Bob, if it was up to us, no problem.’ It’s above them. Who’s stopping it — the Mayor’s Office.”
City Hall did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
The verbal denial came a week after the city backtracked on its initial refusal to allow another major military event, the borough’s century-old Memorial Day Parade, and let plans for the May 31 commemoration go forward.
“It’s been a head-scratcher for us why an event held outdoors on an open road would be any kind of problem,” said Andrew Guido, a member of the foundation’s all-volunteer race committee.
Organizers would stagger the start of the race, limiting each wave to 30 participants, to spread out the crowd in keeping with COVID protocols.
The race, which launched in 2017, has become a fixture in the suburban New Dorp neighborhood where Ollis grew up and his parents, Bob and Linda, still reside.
In past years, up to 1,000 people have taken to local streets, jogging and strolling past the permanent display of 24 American flags — one for each year of the young infantryman’s life — that serves as a poignant reminder of his sacrifice at Forward Operating Base Ghazni in eastern Afghanistan.
Soldiers from Fort Drum, home of the 10th Mountain Division, travel to Staten Island each year to take part, and runners participate virtually from as far away as Germany and Afghanistan.
Ollis posthumously received the US Army’s Distinguished Service Cross and Poland’s Army Gold Medal for saving the lives of his entire platoon and of Lt. Karol Cierpica, a Polish soldier he had never met before the base came under attack.
When a truck bomb pierced the compound’s perimeter and enemy fighters burst through, Ollis ordered his men to safety in a nearby bunker. But when Cierpica was wounded in both legs and left unable to walk, Ollis — wearing no body armor — positioned himself to protect the Polish soldier as an approaching insurgent detonated an explosive vest, according to the Army’s official account of the engagement.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has taken up the cause for a Medal of Honor.
“Before Mike left for his last deployment, he told me, ‘Dad, I’m responsible for these guys. It’s my job to get them home,’” Bob Ollis recalled.
“And he did it. Every one of them came home — except for him.”
Entry fees for the 2019 run netted about $29,000 for the Ollis Foundation, according to its tax filings — half of its total intake that year. The group spends the cash to host holiday dinners for elderly vets, train service dogs for injured service members, send care packages to US troops overseas, teach civics in borough schools, and assist military families in need.
In 2016, after 5,700 borough residents petitioned de Blasio to christen the Staten Island Ferry fleet’s newest addition in Ollis’s honor, the mayor hosted an emotional ceremony to announce the plan. The new boat is due for delivery in June.
Ollis “embodied the very best of our city,” the mayor said at the time, the Ollises standing by his side.
“Being a Vietnam vet, I’ve lost so many people whose names just disappeared,” Bob Ollis said at the announcement. “When Michael passed, I refused to let that happen.”
De Blasio nodded and said, “Amen.”
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