By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily
Nearly one month after he was killed, fallen Marine Lance Cpl. Rylee McCollum of Jackson’s baby has been born.
Levi Rylee Rose McCollum was born Monday and weighed 8 pounds and 10 ounces. She was born at the Naval Hospital at Camp Pendleton in California.
“Welcome to the world my sweet baby i love you with my whole heart,” a social media post from McCollum’s wife, Jiennah Crayton, said.
Jim McCollum, the fallen Marine’s father, wrote a poem to celebrate the girl’s birth
Levi Rylee rose
I love you little girl
You blessed us with light and love
When you came into the world
Hold on to your mama
She’s needing you right now
You are beautiful
You brought the world together somehow
He’s watching over you
He loves you both so much
You’ll feel him with you always
A random feather
A subtle touch
I can’t wait to hold you
I’m excited to watch you grow
I love you little Levi Rylee Rose
I wanted you to know
Rylee McCollum was one of 13 soldiers killed in Afghanistan last month as the U.S. military pulled out of the country after 20 years of fighting.
His body was brought back to Wyoming on Friday and he was given a hero’s welcome with a massive procession through downtown Jackson. No announcements have yet been made about his funeral arrangements.
Since his death, people from all over the country have come together to honor the Marine for giving the ultimate sacrifice while serving his country.
On Sunday, Chronicles Distilling in Cheyenne hosted a fundraiser for the McCollum family, raising more than $73,000 in the process.
Distillery co-owner Chase Lesher was a machine gunner in the Marines and served in Afghanistan, and his brother, co-owner Aaron Lesher, also served in Iraq in the Marines, which made them want to host the fundraiser.
“The news of the Marines and sailor that lost their lives during the bombing…angered us greatly,” Chase Lesher said in an announcement for the fundraiser. “Finding out that one of the Marines…was from Wyoming and had a wife with a child due within a month made it even more emotional for us.”
In addition to the fundraising effort by Chronicles, three GoFundMe pages have been launched in the wake of McCollum’s death, all raising money for McCollum’s wife and unborn child.
In total, more than $827,610 has been raised for the family since McCollum was killed.