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Residents, tourists line the street to welcome home fallen Marine

JACKSON, WY (KIFI)- A Jackson Marine who was among the 13 men and women killed in Afghanistan last month had his final homecoming Friday afternoon.

Hundreds lined the streets, balconies, and roofs to welcome home Marine Corps Lance Corporal Rylee McCollum.

Among those lining the streets were veterans like David Brown, who was in the area on vacation from North Carolina.

Brown said when he heard about the procession, he knew he had to come.

"I've always felt an affinity for the combat soldier. And I want to show my honor and respect," Brown said.

Denise Kaleciak and her husband were visiting from Chicago.

"We just walked out of the Cowboy Bar, honestly, we didn’t know what this was, but I do know exactly," Kaleciak said. "My husband is a Vietnam veteran, he just went to the car to get his hat, so this is… you know, I didn’t know Rylee, but for all those years my husband was in Vietnam, I understand what his family’s going through. Fortunately, my husband came home. I understand he was a very wonderful young man, and I hope that his family can find some peace in the outpouring of love from this country. And uh, welcome home Rylee."

But for Jackson resident Devon Viehman, the showing of love and support wasn't a surprise.

"This is what I love about Jackson," Viehman said. "We come together. One of my best friends, Shelley, she’s here with me, grew up with Rylee’s dad. And so we’re here just to support him and welcome Rylee home."

Among the shows of support, a chance to say thank you to an American hero.

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Rachel Fabbi

Rachel Fabbi is a reporter, anchor and producer for Local News 8 and Eyewitness News 3.


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