Billy Ray Cyrus Honors Slain Middle School Teacher

Kimberly RipleyLife

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Billy Ray Cyrus and his dad Ronald Ray Cyrus used to honor unsung American heroes on a regular basis, but the practice ended with the passing of the elder Cyrus back in 2006. Billy Ray Cyrus renewed the practice this weekend, however, when he honored a teacher who was slain during a middle school shooting in Nevada.

Michael Landsberry was shot and killed by a 12-year-old shooter in the Reno, Nevada suburb of Sparks last October. The student also wounded two classmates before taking his own life.

When Billy Ray Cyrus knew he'd be performing at Lake Tahoe, he felt the time was right to continue his father's tradition, knowing that Michael Landsberry was the person who deserved the honor.

"Just about every year, my dad and I would find an unsung hero and present them with a 'Some Gave All' award," he said in an interview with The Associated Press. "I kind of play everything by ear, and I thought sometime when the time is right, I would love to recognize the sacrifice Michael made."

"Tonight we are here to honor a true American hero," Cyrus told a crowd of over 1,000. "Michael Landsberry made the ultimate sacrifice to save his students after serving three terms in Afghanistan.

Cyrus presented Sharon Landsberry with a plaque during the concert on Saturday evening.

"We all love him today. ... He lives within all of us," Sharon Landsberry said of her late husband.

Billy Ray Cyrus also presented Sharon Landsberry with a monetary gift, the amount of which was not disclosed.

The Achy Breaky Heart singer is involved with a program called Do the Write Thing. Its aim is to educate children, parents, and the public on the potential problems that might result in violence at school.

Kudos to Billy Ray Cyrus for using his notoriety for good. Who knows how many children Michael Landsberry saved on that fateful day in Sparks, Nevada? It's deplorable that teachers find themselves in these dangerous situations. Hopefully programs like the one the singer is involved will reduce the number of such tragedies.

Image via Wikimedia Commons

Kimberly Ripley
Kimberly Ripley is a freelance writer and published author from Portsmouth, New Hampshire. A wife, mom of five and 'Nana' to Lilly and Aiden, she loves cooking for her big family and watching HGTV in her spare time. Kim is guilty of starting way more home design projects than she can finish. Visit her at Twitter and Facebook.