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Billy Ray Cyrus Honors Slain Nevada Teacher, Dubs Him ‘True American Hero’

On Saturday (July 5), Billy Ray Cyrus paid tribute to Michael Landsberry, a Nevada teacher shot by a 12-year-old student at Sparks Middle School on October 21, 2013. Cyrus dubbed the late teacher a “true American hero.”

The country singer played a small concert in Incline Village in Nevada over the weekend and told the crowd of 1,000 people, “Tonight we are here to honor a true American hero. Michael Landsberry made the ultimate sacrifice to save his students after serving three terms in Afghanistan.” Landsberry’s wife was also presented with a memorial plaque, according to Huffington Post.

Landsberry sacrificed his own life while trying to save the lives of many innocent students of the school where he taught. The 45-year-old math teacher tried to talk the shooter into turning over the handgun before being shot in the chest on the school’s asphalt basketball court. In addition to Landsberry’s death, two other classmates were wounded before the young shooter took his own life.

The teacher’s death moved Cyrus deeply — the ‘Achy Breaky’ hitmaker is involved with a program called Do the Write Thing, which focuses on reducing school violence, asking the public to flag authorities for potential problems that could take place at schools.

During his concert, Cyrus led the audience in his fitting song ‘Some Gave All‘ as Landberry’s widow stood onstage. Her two daughters were also part of the ceremony; Alisa Cook, 25, attended while Andrea Cook, 18, gave a videotaped message from an aircraft carrier in the Persian Gulf, where she is serving in the Marines.

It is not uncommon for Cyrus to spotlight American heroes — he and his father did it often for more than a decade — but the country singer hasn’t paid such a tribute since his father’s death in 2006.

“Just about every year, my dad and I would find an unsung hero and present them with a `Some Gave All’ award,” Cyrus tells the Associate 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.”

In addition to honoring Landsberry, Cyrus gave the family an undisclosed financial gift.

Why Country Music Needs Billy Ray Cyrus

Next: Listen to Billy Ray's 'Some Gave All'

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