Don Collins' legacy remembered

CARIBOU, Maine - "It's a sad day in the passing of Don but we really need to celebrate his life."

Donald Collins of Caribou passed away over the weekend at 92 years old. People know him as the father of Senator Susan Collins, but he also had a lifetime of achievements himself.

"He made such a positive difference in his community and in his state and in his country," said Tim Crowley, the President of Northern Maine Community College.

Collins played multiple roles throughout his life, one of the earliest as a veteran.

Wounded during World War II in the Battle of the Bulge, he received two Purple Heart medals.

In 1949, Collins joined the Caribou Rotary Club, serving as president from 1957 to 1958 and was thought of highly by fellow Rotarians. In 1987 he received the Paul Harris Fellowship Award.

"It's given to Rotarians or people in the community that exemplify the values of Rotary. Don Collins did that in terms of commitment to the community, in terms of the commitment to his family and to helping people who are in need. It's the highest honor the Rotary Club provides."

Collins was also devoted to his state and community, serving five terms in the Maine House and Senate between 1970 and 1992. He also served as the mayor of Caribou.

"He was a wonderful advocate for Aroostook County and he was one of the few politicians who could work across party lines and bring people together."

Collins was the fourth generation of his family to operate S.W. Collins, a lumber and building products business, which he managed for four decades.

"The construction hall of fame here at Northern Maine Community College identifies individuals who make outstanding contributions to the industry and in 2009, Don Collins was inducted into that hall of fame."

Collins wore many hats, touched many hearts and will long be remembered here in the County.

"If you look at the contributions to his county, his country, his state and his community, he's a wonderful role model for people to follow."