but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.
I was not born a runner. Okay well for that matter none of us are. But even after I learned to run, I held to the strict belief that running was for those who were chased or those who were fleeing danger (which could possibly be the same thing at times). I’ve also held to the belief that clowns are creepy and despite others’ attempts to dissuade me, I’ve held firm.
But the running bug bit me in my 20’s and keeps coming back to bite me. I heard runners talk about the “running high” and I was all in. I started by signing up for a 5k. I’d never run before in my life and this was my motivation: finish without dying. I succeeded. Slowly. From there I got faster and the threat of death from 3+ miles was a distant memory.
Over the years, I’ve gotten on and off the running wagon only to be suckered into another race and thankful in the end that it was over – and thankful for the experience.
I am again at a crossroads of another race. On November 10, I will run my first half-marathon. Three months ago I was barely in shape to run three miles. In three weeks I’ll be running 13.1. Its that point one that will really hurt but I know it will all be worth it.
Why will this gruesomely long distance be worth it? Because of Rob. I never knew Rob, but a year ago I met his mother, Sharon Collins. She is a strong, amazing woman that I know God meant for me to meet. There have been too many God-incidences for our relationship to be an accident.
Sharon’s son 1LT Robert Wilson Collins died in combat on April 7, 2010 in Iraq. He was 24. Sharon, our church, and Rob’s friends in Tyrone suffered a great shock. You need not have known someone to know how great they were and how great they would have become. Rob’s life was a testimony to others and I’ve seen the impact that his short life had.
So I’m running for Rob. Even though I never knew him, he’s made an impact on me as well. I may not be running because of my ability, but I’m running because of my heart. Rob and I both have a heart for God and 13.1 is a small distance to go to support my brother in Christ.
If you want to join me on this journey feel free to laugh.. I mean cheer for me as I cross the finish line. You may also make a donation to the scholarship in his memory. The details are below.
Until Everyone Hears,
The 1LT Robert Wilson Collins Patriot Spirit Scholarship has been established in honor and loving memory of Robert W. Collins. Each year Robert’s parents, LTC (RET) Burkitt “Deacon” Collins and LTC (RET) Sharon Collins, will award the scholarship to one deserving senior at Sandy Creek High School who exemplifies the character and life that Robert was known for: “Not by ability, but by heart”.
Donations to the scholarship may be made out by check and sent to:
The 1LT Robert Wilson Collins Patriot Spirit Scholarship
c/o The Bank of Georgia
100 Westpark Drive
Peachtree City, GA 30269
After high school Robert attended the United States Military Academy at West Point where he graduated in 2008. 1LT Collins was serving as a Platoon Leader in B Company, 1-64 Armor Battalion, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division when his platoon was deployed to Iraq to support Operation Iraqi Freedom in the Fall of 2009. On April 7, 2010, Robert and PFC William A. Blount (21, Petal, MS) were killed near Mosul, Iraq. At the age of 24, Robert was the first member of the USMA Class of 2008 to die in combat.