CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — It was an emotional moment for widow Michelle McCollum as she strapped on flight gear for her upcoming dive.
Surrounded by different members of the Corpus Christi Police Department, this was a different way to honor her fallen husband, but to her and Alan McCollum’s friends, it made perfect sense.
“Some of us are first-timers, some of us have done several jumps,” said one friend who asked just to go by Skyler. “Just to kind of memorialize him and remember him in that light — get that adrenaline rush, I couldn’t think of a better way to honor him and remember him today.”
Alan McCollum, 46, was killed on a Friday night on Jan. 31, 2020, after he was struck by a vehicle while conducting a traffic stop near South Padre Island Drive and Carroll Lane.
Michael Love, another CCPD officer, was injured in the crash, but survived.
The driver, 27-year-old Brandon Portillo, was charged with intoxication manslaughter, intoxication assault and driving with a suspended license.
McCollum had been with the Corpus Christi Police Department for seven years and was a 21-year Army veteran where he served as a parachute rigger.
“We actually met in the skies,” Michelle McCollum said, who is also an Army veteran. “We trained together and he helped me re-establish my connection with jumping… The connection we had was a very personal and strong connection.”
Michelle and many CCPD officers, ended up soaring through the Port Aransas winds. To her, it was bitter-sweet, but necessary.
“It was a ton of emotions — being up there in the sky, and feeling his presence,” she said. “The sky was just amazing, it was just very, very exhilarating, but tons of emotion it was just very personal for me to do that for him and honor him.”
Following Michelle’s flight, a group of four skydivers soon soared through the air as well — each dawning a separate flag representing the fallen officer. The United States, Texas, and Army flags could all be seen, as well as flag dedicated to fallen police officers.
A candlelight vigil was held in Alan McCollum’s honor remains Sunday night at the corner of South Padre Island Drive and Carroll Lane.
Skyler went to that ceremony too.
“The old saying is, you never truly die if nobody forgets,” Skyler said. “As long as we say his name often, we do these memorials, we do these jumps every year, it keeps his spirit of life — it keeps him alive and moving forward.”