By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily
The late Lance Cpl. Rylee McCollum was honored Tuesday during the Wyoming House of Representatives floor session.
Speaker of the House Eric Barlow, R-Gillette, read a joint resolution signed by all the House members to the legislators. Gov. Mark Gordon was in attendance during the commemoration.
“The 66th Wyoming legislature of the state of Wyoming recognizes and honors Lance Cpl. Rylee McCollum,” Barlow said. “Be it resolved by the 66th Wyoming Legislature, whereas…Rylee McCollum of Bondurant Wyoming was a beloved son, brother, husband, and father, to an infant daughter born shortly after his death…Rylee McCollum was born on February 26, 2001, in Riverton, Wyoming, spent his early days in DuBois…and graduated from Summit Innovations School in 2019.”
McCollum, a Jackson native, was one of 13 soldiers killed in Afghanistan in August as the U.S. military pulled out of the country after 20 years of fighting.
Chaplain Matthew Sullivan also gave a prayer honoring McCollum and his fellow soldiers from Wyoming who have died in the line of duty since Sept. 11, 2001.
Representative Shelly Duncan, R-Lingle, read a poem by McCollum’s father, Jim McCollum, that commemorated his son.
“Many people don’t know how prolific of a writer Jim McCollum is, us close to him do,” Duncan said. “He’s a poet, he’s a writer, and to be able to get through all this, he has been gutting us every week, every day, so it was hard to choose.”
Jim McCollum was in the chamber on Tuesday, and thanked the legislature for their kind words about his son.
“I’m blessed to be here, surrounded by you guys. Thank you for this. Rylee was a patriot. Rylee was Wyoming through and through,” McCollum said. “He knew wanted to be a Marine from the time he was three-years-old. He did exactly what he wanted to do, he was exactly where he wanted to be, and we’ve learned in the aftermath that he was with who he wanted to be with, and died doing something greater than himself. You guys do that every day, I know you’re making a difference for the rest of us.”
McCollum’s heroism has been praised in the months since his death. More than $1 million was raised through various fundraisers for McCollum’s widow and baby that was born about a month after his death.
McCollum’s widow and sisters are suing Alec Baldwin for defamation following an Instagram post. Baldwin sent the family a donation following McCollum’s death.