It is written that, “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends,” and all know it to be true.
Hundreds of stories about men laying their life for their families and loved ones bring tears. The heroic deed leaves one in utter amazement of the other’s selflessness and sacrifice, which no amount or any other deed could ever repay for.
While dying for a friend or a comrade is definitely priceless one cannot even attempt to measure it, perhaps there is a way to honor one’s sacrifice that would speak volumes.
The story of how Polish soldier Lieutenant Karol Cierpica got his second lease on life with the bravery of another man is an example of this.
Lt. Cierpica was based in Afghanistan. It was there that he met U.S. soldier Sgt. Michael Ollis.
A massive attack hit Forward Operating Base Ghazni. Lt. Cierpica was hurt and had a hard time moving around because of his leg injury. Sgt. Ollis assisted him and was about to move him out of harm’s way when a suicide bomber jumped at the Polish soldier.
As if by instinct, Sgt. Ollis pushed the injured soldier out of the way to shield him. This act saved Lt. Cierpica. But not the American soldier.
Sgt. Ollis’ bravery was awarded with a Silver Star, the U.S. military’s third highest decoration for valor. The Polish Armed Forces also gave him a Gold Medal, the highest honor that could be awarded for foreign military.
Since that day, Lt. Cierpica made his gratitude for his second life to the family of Sgt. Ollis. He communicated with them a lot and was able to form a special bond with the fallen soldier’s parents. Robert Ollis, the U.S. soldier’s father, even went to visit the family of the lieutenant.
To show his gratitude to what Sgt. Ollis did, the Polish military gave his fallen comrade another honor, one that could not be described in colors of silver or gold.
As a tribute for his heroism, Lt. Cierpica named his newborn son, Michael.
The Ollises were honored. Before they knew of the family’s decision to name their baby Michael, the couple even sent them a teddy bear made from the U.S. army’s fatigue.
When they learned of his name, they could not contain their joy.
Robert said, “I thought of this baby as a grandson. We are very happy and honored.”