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Donations pour in for wife, unborn child of fallen Wyoming Marine
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Donations pour in for wife, unborn child of fallen Wyoming Marine

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Rylee McCollum

Rylee McCollum, a Marine and Sublette County native killed in the Aug. 26 suicide bombing at the airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, with his wife Jiennah Crayton. 

In the first day since the public learned about the death of a Wyoming Marine in Afghanistan, more than $403,000 was raised online to benefit his pregnant wife and the couple’s unborn child.

Rylee McCollum died Thursday in a suicide bomb attack at the Kabul airport in Afghanistan. He and 12 other service members were providing security at the airport as it was being overwhelmed with evacuees trying to leave the county after the Taliban’s takeover.

McCollum, who was from Bondurant, was expecting his first child in three weeks, his family says.

In the aftermath of his death, two verified GoFundMe fundraisers have been started to benefit his wife, Jiennah Crayton, and the couple’s unborn child.

The fundraisers collected more than a quarter million dollars in the first 18 hours they were created, according to a GoFundMe spokeswoman.

As of early Saturday afternoon, a fund dedicated to the “education and upbringing” of McCollum’s child had alone raised $215,000. The child is due in September.

A second fund, set up by McCollum’s mother in law, will benefit his wife.

“My heart is incredibly heavy today, in the wee hours of the morning my beautiful daughter got that knock on her door that no military spouse wants to get,” Jill Crayton wrote. “Her strong, handsome, incredibly brave husband of less than a year was one of the 13 Marines that gave his life yesterday in Kabul.”

McCollum had been sent to Afghanistan on his first deployment, his sister said. He was apparently manning a checkpoint at the airport in Kabul when the bomb went off.

The Marine attended Jackson Hole High School and competed as a wrestler. He graduated in 2019 from Summit Innovations School in Jackson.

McCollum’s death touched off an outpouring of support in Wyoming and elsewhere. In a statement, Wyoming Speaker of the House Eric Barlow said he’d spoken to McCollum’s father, who had noted how much the family had appreciated that support.

“I am a Marine too, and I weep for the loss of my brother,” Barlow said in a statement. “God bless and keep the McCollum family, now and beyond, for the sacrifice Rylee has made on all our behalf. Semper Fi.”

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Editor

Joshua Wolfson joined the Star-Tribune in 2007, covering crime and health before taking over the arts section in 2013. He also served as managing editor before being named editor in June 2017. He lives in Casper with his wife and their two kids.

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