The family of fallen U.S. Marine Lance Cpl. Rylee McCollum, a soon-to-be father who was killed in a bombing during the mass evacuation in Afghanistan, was welcomed back to Wyoming on Monday with a police escort and people waving American flags as they lined the streets.
McCollum, 20, was among 13 service members killed by a suicide bomb attack Thursday at the Kabul airport while providing security as people tried to flee the country amid the U.S. withdrawal and Taliban takeover. He was expecting his first child in three weeks, according to his family.
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Since McCollum’s death, thousands of people from across the country have made donations to his family. As of Tuesday, the donations exceeded $500,000 across two GoFundMe campaigns set up for McCollum’s widow and their unborn child’s future education costs.
On Monday, the Teton County Sheriff’s Office shared video online that showed deputies, the Jackson Police Department and the U.S. Marine Corps escorting McCollum’s family into Jackson as community members lined the streets waving American flags.
McCollum’s family had been in Dover, Del., on Sunday to attend the dignified transfer of the 13 service members. President Biden was reportedly set to meet with the family but only met with McCollum’s widow.
Roice McCollum, one of the late corporal’s sisters, told the Washington Post on Sunday that she, her sister and her father all refused to meet with Biden because they held him responsible for their fallen Marine’s death.
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“You can’t f— up as bad as he did and say you’re sorry,” Roice said in regards to Biden. “This did not need to happen, and every life is on his hands.”
McCollum was from Bondurant, Wyo., and attended Jackson Hole High School, where he competed as a wrestler. He graduated in 2019 from Summit Innovations School in Jackson. He was on his first deployment when the attack happened, the Casper Star-Tribune reported.
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Another sister, Cheyenne McCollum, told the paper that her brother had always dreamed of being a Marine and had wanted to become a history teacher and wrestling coach once he finished his service.
“We want to make sure that people know that these are the kids that are sacrificing themselves, and he’s got a family who loves him and a wife who loves him and a baby that he’ll never get to meet,” his other sister, Cheyenne McCollum said.
Fox News’ Houston Keene and The Associated Press contributed to this report.