7 On Your Side restores veterans' charity phone number

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Friday, November 10, 2023
7 On Your Side restores charity phone for veterans' foundation
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Nina Pineda has 7 On Your Side.

NEW DORP, Staten Island (WABC) -- Ten years ago, a 24-year-old Army sergeant from Staten Island made the ultimate sacrifice for his country. Michael Ollis was killed while shielding another soldier from a suicide bomber during an attack on a U.S. base in Afghanistan.

Among Ollis' honors, which include a bronze star and a Purple Heart, a Staten Island Ferry was named for the hometown hero last February, when the SSG Michael H Ollis set sail.

His family also created a foundation to help veterans, but they recently hit a blockade when their landline, the charity's lifeline for donations, went AWOL.

The headquarters of the Michael Ollis Freedom Foundation is located in the heart of Bob and Linda's Staten Island home - the home their son, Michael grew up in.

Ollis died on his third tour while saving a Polish soldier during a raid on forward-operating Base Ghazni in Afghanistan.

To carry on his legacy, the Ollis' dedicated his charity to helping veterans right in their community.

The family relies on the generosity of others - some reach out on the charity's Facebook, but most use the foundation's landline.

In September, the calls suddenly stopped coming. This happened after switching phone providers - they lost both the home number they had for 40 years and the nonprofit number.

After a month and a half of trying to get their lines back, just like their motto 'Live Like Mike,' the Ollis' knew they couldn't give up that easily. They called 7 On Your Side to help them get back in business.

The foundation phone number was back just in time for the family's special trip to Poland, where a Polish army dining hall was dedicated to Michael. They also got to see the Lieutenant who Michael saved in Afghanistan and his son, who the Lieutenant named Michael, honoring the young sergeant from New York who bravely gave his own life to save others.

Linda and Bob Ellis thanked 7 On Your Side.

"From the bottom of our hearts, you save us so much worry, you came along like magic - you got it done. Thank you, 7 On Your Side. We love it, we watch every day," they said.

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