Over $760,000 has been raised for the widow and unborn baby of a US Marine killed last week in the terror attack outside the Kabul airport that claimed the lives of over a dozen US service members.
Rylee McCollum, 20, died on Aug. 26 alongside 12 other US military personnel while helping evacuate American citizens and Afghan allies from Afghanistan when an ISIS-K suicide bomb went off.
McCollum, from Bondurant, Wyoming, had just gotten married, and was three weeks away from being a dad, according to the Casper Star-Tribune. In an effort to support his widow and unborn child, two GoFundMe pages were launched.
One was organized by the Into the Breach Supply Company, a clothing company, and was titled “Rylee McCollum’s Child Education Fund.” Its goal is to provide funds “specifically dedicated to the education and upbringing of Marine Rylee McCollum’s child who is expected for September.”
As of Wednesday morning, the fund exceeded its goal of $5,000, having raised $548,208.
The second fund was organized by Jill Crayton, McCollum’s mother-in-law, titled “Love for Gigi,” and focused on her daughter, McCollum’s wife, Jiennah, who is also known as Gigi.
“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,” the description of the fund read.
“Her strong, handsome, incredibly brave husband of less than a year was one of the 13 Marines that gave his life yesterday in Kabul. She’s 36 weeks pregnant and she lost her love. I never got to meet him, but I will meet his baby, and I will love and spoil that baby forever. please hold her in your heart and soul because she needs it, this mama knows exactly what that feels like.”
Crayton’s fund is nearing its goal of $225,000 and as of Wednesday morning had raised $213,589.
In the aftermath of his death, McCollum’s family has not shied away from expressing anger toward President Biden, particularly for his behavior at the dignified transfer ceremony over the weekend.
McCollum’s sister Roice said the president showed “total disregard to the loss of our Marine” when he spoke with the family at the ceremony in Dover, Delaware, while his mother, Kathy, called Biden “a dementia-ridden piece of crap who doesn’t even know he’s in the White House” in a radio interview.
“You can’t f— up as bad as he did and say you’re sorry,” Roice told the Washington Post. “This did not need to happen, and every life is on his hands, the thousands of Afghans who will suffer and be tortured is a direct result of his incompetence.”
She added that Biden checked his watch while speaking with her brother’s widow.
Roice revealed that while her father and sisters joined Jiennah on the trip to Dover, only Jiennah met with Biden. She later said Jiennah felt the brief conversation was a “total disregard to the loss of our Marine — our brother, son, husband, and father,” calling Biden’s comments scripted and shallow.
McCollum’s death came as the US worked to evacuate as many American citizens and Afghan allies as possible from Afghanistan before the troop withdrawal deadline on Aug. 31 and amid the Taliban takeover of the war-torn nation.
Since Aug. 14, US troops helped evacuate over 122,000 people on US military aircraft — including 5,400 Americans.
“Several hundred” Americans remain in the embattled country following the withdrawal, according to the Pentagon.