Paul Harris Rotary Fellow Award Earned By Donald Collins, Houlton ME
Pitching In, Volunteering, Service On All Levels, That's What Paul Harris Fellows Do.

Ever tapped, had the honor to present an award but worked hard behind the scenes to make sure the recipient did not know it was coming?

So the total surprise, caught unaware and “out of the blue” adds to the presentation impact? This week’s Paul Harris Rotary award receipient did not have an inkling, did not see it coming.

For starters, you and I know many people but on just one or two levels.

A co-worker, a neighbor, a service club member all show the public one side of the person. But interviewing family members, others in a person’s personal not so public life give depth, a greater perception into what makes the person tick. Who they are really are, what motivates them, fills them with passion gets revealed with a little digging. How they respond when the going gets tough gets brought out into the daylight too.

I asked former Houlton Maine town manager Doug Hazlett from experience how he would describe the Paul Harris Award recipient and he said “positive, dependable, determined, creative”. A co-worker Dana Wright’s wife Nancy said her husband’s initial reaction to the new USDA worker was formed during instructional meetings the two attended. Dana said he did not pay such close attention to the teacher up front in the classroom but was very friendly, social with those sitting around him.

Labeling him a positive people person.

An important skill if you are a leader, want to get others excited to accomplish something as a group right? Dana also said this person never, never had a glass less than half full and always saw the silver lining, the positive in anything facing him in life.

Greg Palmer told me when contacted this Paul Harris recipient worked on the new Riverside Park, golf course, Meduxnekeag River clean up projects and on the board of Vital Pathways he was always a positive force. Coming up with their slogan of “Making Good Maine Communities Better”. Serving as an area judge of science fairs, helping youth with skiing, sunday school, this latest Rotary Paul Harris Fellow went beyond just living in the community. To making it a better place because of his non-stop, positive hardwork in volunteer service to others.

“No one else has the driving, intense positive spirit, faithful attitude like he does”.

Observations relayed to me by Maine teacher Todd Williard, who this award recipient treated like a second Dad. “Anyone else would have been dead seven times over faced with all the medical set backs, numerous operations that went on and one with his Crohn’s, then cancer treatments. I don’t know of anyone else as God fearing, 100% faithful. Always radiating an “everything will work out” attitude then him”.

His daughter Courtney shared with me …

“Dad has meant so very much to me, our whole family. An incredible father, grandfather, husband to my Mom and really giving all of himself to us. Teaching me numerous lessons in life but there are a few that stand out. One thing that Dad does so well is living life to the fullest, Dad recognized early on in life that life is truly short.” (His mother died when he was fourteen and he helped raise two younger boys with his Dad alone.)

“Dad counts his blessing’s each and everyday, he taught us all to do this too. Dad is so very grateful for everything in his life. Lets me, my husband and our children know how much he loves us, cherishes us. That it’s truly taught me to appreciate each day, to count my blessings too. He lives life with an awesome attitude, so often things could have gotten him down but instead of letting himself or any of us feel sorry for ourselves he reminds us how lucky we are. To stay positive. Often reminding himself and us to maintain the most positive spirit because he knows there are so many out there that are less fortunate. And feels grateful to just be here”.

“Anyone that knows my father knows he has an amazing gift to gab, he can and does talk to anyone and everyone.”

“Treats all as a friend, he knows no stranger and that taught me the importance of kindness, compassion for other’s. So often Dad will start a story and I literally can do the dishes, make a few beds and fold and put a load of laundry away but it’s times like this that I cherish. I am a better person for having the parents that I do. I know this world is a better place because they’re in it. Dad has truly touched so many lives and we’re grateful for him”. His son Chris echoed the same sentiments.

This Paul Harris Fellow Award recipient’s best friend John Holmes writes to his daughter…
“Nice to hear from you!! Thanks for the kind words. It’s easy to be a friend of your dad. There is a reason he was our class President, captain of most of our athletic teams and a friend to all. And is also an inspiration to all that know him. What you guys ALL have gone through is unreal. I know how tough it is on Marion but both you “kids” as well. It is a very difficult situation, with you both having “other” lives now, kids, jobs, and all other that life brings us. Every time I see Don, he ALWAYS mentions you both and how proud he is of your accomplishments”.

“You are lucky to have parents like you do but they are just as lucky to have such good offsprings!! Again, so nice of you to let me know what it meant to Don to have that Championship ball!!! When I noticed it had been “removed” from the trophy case here at Dirigo, I quickly asked where it was. The new A.D. had put it “away” and I asked him for it. Being a member of that team, he allowed me to have it.”

“I brought it home and IMMEDIATELY knew where it was going. (Presenting it to our Paul Harris Award recipient) Glad it has found its last “home”!!! Couldn’t think of a better place!!!! Thanks again for your kind words!!! Take care and know that your Dad will ALWAYS be special to a LOT of people!!!!” Love, Jon

Always concentrate on after the life threatening, scary operations. Just serving to increase his faith not diminish it.

Filled with intense hope for the future and not getting bogged down in the present struggles. Using them to make himself, those around him stronger the lesson here. My observations as a home property neighbor of thirty two years, being in the same church twenty four years is the the echoed always positive person day in and out. No matter what. In public, behind the scenes. Despite numerous cancer operations, treatments, battling Crohn’s disease since age 30, but always reminding there is someone else out there way way less fortunate so chin up, be positive.

Congratulations to the latest Houlton Maine Rotary Club’s Paul Harris Fellow Award recipient Donald Collins. Who inspires anyone who he touches, meets to step up, stay positive and do more to help others. Maine, less people, but more involved. Find your place in the space of Maine.

I’m Maine REALTOR Andrew Mooers, ME Broker