Family mourns loss of Painesville soldier, celebrates birth of his third child

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PAINESVILLE, Ohio (WJW) — U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Kyle McKee of Lake County was one of five U.S. soldiers killed on Nov. 12 when their helicopter crashed in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula.

For Staff Sgt. McKee’s family in Leroy Township, the Thanksgiving holiday has been bittersweet. As they grieve the loss of a son and brother, they are celebrating the birth of Kyle McKee’s third child on Thanksgiving eve, a daughter named Isla Fayre.  

SSgt. McKee’s father, Steve McKee, told Fox 8, “She’s going to be loved by a lot of people that she won’t even know and it’s something that we will always cherish, and know that this is a part of him that lives on.”

Kyle McKee’s father says the 35-year-old SSgt. was proud of his Northeast Ohio roots.

When Kyle was a student at Riverside High School, the school resource officers were deputies with the Lake County Sheriff’s Office, who had a strong influence on McKee that he carried with him as he served in Afghanistan and Iraq.

While overseas, he asked his father to send him a patch from the sheriff’s office that he proudly wore on his Army uniform as a show of respect.

“It’s just something that made him feel closer to home,” said Steve McKee.

The Lake County sheriff says he was deeply honored on Thanksgiving when he saw photos of SSgt. McKee wearing the patch of the sheriff’s office on his uniform.

“It’s how important he saw his service to his nation, and how important he saw the service of the Lake County Sheriff’s Office in his life,” said Sheriff Frank Leonbruno.

The sheriff says he was so moved by the photos of Kyle McKee that he now plans to place them on a wall of remembrance at the sheriff’s office. The wall tells the story of those who served Lake County with honor and distinction. The sheriff says by including Kyle McKee on the wall, he and his deputies are making a statement to the McKee family, especially little Isla Fayre and her two brothers.

“We are deeply saddened, we are proud of his service and we send our sympathies to the McKee family for their loss,” said Sheriff Leonbruno.

When Kyle McKee’s father learned about the tribute, he told us, “I think he was loved and respected by a lot of people that we didn’t even know. It’s hard to find it out after the fact, but it’s heartwarming to know that he impacted a lot of people.”

Funeral arrangements for Staff Sergeant Kyle McKee, including a memorial service in Lake County, are being finalized by the family and the U.S. Army.

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