Fundraiser for Marine With Child on the Way Killed in Afghanistan Brings in $600k in Just Five Days

by Suzanne Halliburton

The fundraiser for Marine Rylee McCollum, who was killed in Afghanistan last month in a terrorist attack is bringing in big money to help his pregnant widow.

A GoFundMe account set up for the wife of Rylee McCollum currently has more than $632,000 in donations. The money will be used “for the education and upbringing” of McCollum’s unborn child. Gigi McCollum, his wife, is due with the couple’s only child later in September.

Rylee McCollum and 12 other soldiers were killed when a suicide bomber for ISIS-K detonated a bomb outside the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul. It was the largest death toll the U.S. suffered in Afghanistan in a decade.

The attack also killed more than 170 Afghan citizens. The Marines were helping the U.S. military evacuate Americans and Afghans who had helped during the war.

The Taliban took control of Afghanistan after the leaders fled the country. ISIS-K is an offshoot of the terrorist group, ISIS. The Taliban considers ISIS-K an enemy.

Rylee McCollum Was Manning a Checkpoint When Bomb Went Off

Rylee McCollum had been manning one of the checkpoints. He was a lance corporal in the middle of his first deployment. He also was a newlywed with a baby on the way. His unit had been station in Jordan when it received orders to move to Kabul to work security and help with the evacuation.

“He was a beautiful soul,” his father told the New York Times. Rylee McCollum was only nine months old when the attacks on 9-1-1 brought down the World Trade Center towers. His father said that a three-year-old Rylee decided he wanted to be a Marine when he grew up. He realized that dream.

The GoFundMe page to honor Rylee McCollum was set up by the Into the Breach Supply Company. The initial goal was to raise $5,000.

The GoFundMe intro reads: “This is a fund specifically dedicated to the education and upbringing of Marine Rylee McCollum’s child who is expected for September. His sacrifice at HKIA [the airport] to protect the lives of those who cannot themselves will not be forgotten. Anything you can provide to aid them would be appreciated more than we can express. Bless.” 

More Than 12,000 Donated to Fund

More than 12,000 people have donated to the Rylee McCollum fund. The biggest single donation was $10,000. Two people have given that much, with one asking to remain anonymous.

The Rylee McCollum fund is the second largest on GoFundMe. McCollum grew up in Wyoming and attended Jackson Hole High School and Summit Innovations School. He graduated in 2019.

The state’s governor announced his death.

“I’m devastated to learn Wyoming lost one of our own in yesterday’s terrorist attack in Kabul,” Gov. Mark Gordon said. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of U.S. Marine Rylee McCollum of Bondurant. Jennie and I, along with all of Wyoming and the entire nation, thank Rylee for his service.”