Someone emailed me the story posted on WCAX.Com about 15 Year old Rylee Preston, and her song “Soldier’s Light”. Once I heard the song, I had to reach out to Rylee as the song touched me and I felt it needed to be heard by everyone, and I wanted to know what drove her to write it.
I spoke to Rylee’s father, who is very proud of his daughter, as he should be. He tells me that Rylee saw how upset he was over a friend of his who had lost his son in Iraq, Army SPC. Justin Rollins who was killed in 2007.
Rylee says, “I could just tell in my dad’s voice how upset he was about it, because he was feeling bad for his friend and he said he could only imagine how it would be to lose me,” “Just that moment when she said, ‘Dad, what can we do to help,’ was a moment when I had to catch my breath,” said Jay Preston, Rylee’s dad.
Together they traveled to California and created a work of art — a song called “Soldier’s Light.” It’s dedicated to the Army paratrooper and the “Ride for the Fallen” memorial scholarship set up in his name.
“You never get over it but you learn to deal with it. I think the first year, the first everything is the hardest,” said Skip Rollins, Justin’s father.
That pain is highlighted in a video depicting a family dealing with the loss of a loved one. “It personally affects all over our family’s deployment and it affects them in different ways, but a lot of time the same way,” Rollins said.
Rylee wrote the song and has the starring role. She says it’s a tribute to those who sacrifice for the country’s freedoms — and this grieving dad agrees. “It’s a total tribute to all of our men and women in uniform,” Rollins said.
“The way the song has already — I’m seeing it’s already touched people’s lives — is something I am very proud of Rylee,” Jay Preston said.
We worked vary hard on this song and video, it was all out of pocket as a gift to my friend Skip Rollin, SPC Justin Rollins father.
Jay tells me that the proceed’s from the sales of the song will go to Rollins Ride a charity named after SPC Rollins.
Here is the interview I watched that drove my interest in Rylee and her song:
Jay tells me that at Skips request (Justin’s father) Rylee sang Soldier’s Light Live at the event held by “Ride For The Fallen”.
I was back stage, and Skip told me she had the entire audience (Bikers, a lot of them Vet’s) in tears, and holding up cell phones recording – it was a moment I cant describe for me, because what started out as words on paper became a song, video and tribute. And to watch Rylee sing it live (very nervous her first time in front of a real audience) bring them to tears.
I promise you we have really put a lot of heart, soul, and hard work into this. And although I have no family members in the military and no direct connection, Rylee and I have a great respect and think a lot about what it means to put your life on the line, with family back home.
This is a vary emotional project for me, as I may not be connected to the military direct, but my connection/respect/etc.. comes from being a father… I see a lot of me in Rylee i.e. her morals, sense of humor, road rage (haha) and so I know even though I have never met Justin, if he is any thing like skip, he is a great man, and so this song and video really is for all our Soldiers .
Jay also tells me that the Soldier in the video is an Active Duty soldier, the Soldier Craig gave up his weekend traveling 12 hrs for this video. It was important to Skip that an Active Soldier play the part.
Please also head over to Rylee’s fan page and give her a like, and thanks to you Rylee, this is an awesome tribute. Here is her fan page –Rylee Preston
Here is the song, written and performed by Rylee,
Here is the link to the song on itunes – Rylee Preston “Soldiers Light”
And don’t forget to go give her a like on facebook, and tell her thanks! Rylee Preston Fan Page