By Jimmy Orr, Cowboy State Daily
Stating that Wyoming’s “heart is heavy with grief today,” U.S. Sen. Cynthia Lummis took to the Senate floor on Tuesday to pay tribute to Lance Cpl. Rylee McCollum, a U.S. Marine from Jackson who was one of 13 service members killed in Afghanistan last month.
McCollum’s wife Gigi gave birth to their daughter early Tuesday morning and Lummis said although Rylee will never know Levi Rylee Rose McCollum, she will be in good hands.
“She will be surrounded by love from mother Gigi, proud grandfather, Jim McCollum, Rylee’s sisters, and many other relatives who will share with Levi what a wonderful and heroic father she had,” Lummis said.
The senator said she spent some time with McCollum’s family over the weekend and had the honor of expressing Wyoming’s “deep appreciation of Rylee’s sacrifice to them” pointing to the thousands of people who lined Jackson’s streets to welcome him home.
“Wyoming’s very special way of honoring its beloved Rylee was on full display last Friday, people waving American flags lined the streets of Jackson to give Rylee a hero’s welcome as his remains were returned home,” she said.
“The people of Wyoming are heartbroken but infinitely proud of his bravery and sacrifice,” she said.
Earlier in the day, Rylee’s father Jim wrote a poem welcoming his granddaughter into the world and posted it on his Facebook account.
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