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Ceremony to honor Michael Collins

Heartland Community College’s athletic department will pay tribute to Michael Collins with a ceremony in his honor at their home baseball game beginning at noon on May 4 at the Cornbelters Corn Crib.

Admission to the ceremony and game is free, and students are encouraged to come and celebrate Michael Collins’ life and achievements.

The baseball game and ceremony will give students, faculty, staff and members of the Bloomington-Normal community a chance to gather and celebrate Collins.

Collins’ jersey will be retired during the ceremony, among other activities.

“He was a very fun-loving guy who had the ability to draw people in,” Nate Metzger, Heartland Community College director of athletics and head baseball coach, said.

Metzger knew Collins and his family since Collins was in sixth grade and watched him grow as both a baseball player and a young man.

“He could be a joker and a prankster, but also knew where the line was in regards to being serious and competing too. He was actually the ultimate competitor who hated to lose more than he liked to win, but also was able to keep his head and emotions in check on the field. He didn’t allow pressure to get to him,” Metzger said.

Collins earned the respect and admiration of his peers, coaches and professors both at Heartland and at ISU.

“He was well liked, but more importantly, well respected by all his teammates and coaches. His faith was important to him also as he never missed an FCA chapel session with HCC Baseball,” Metzger added.

Those who admired Collins are carrying on his legacy through the #MCStrong movement and by paying it forward through random acts of kindness towards others. The movement has stretched across the globe, with people paying it forward as far as Canada, South Africa, Australia and Japan.

“I am surprised to see all of the “pay it forward” stuff — just how widespread and nation -— even worldwide it has gone, but I’m not surprised it has come on behalf of him because he had that type of impact on people while he was with us,” Metzger said.

Former teammate Trey Rogers posted a status describing Collins as “a natural leader with a huge heart, but also a goofball with a free-spirited demeanor to those who knew him,” and said: “I doubt I’ll ever be lucky enough to meet someone that’ll continuously be responsible for making 40 guys laugh together, like MC was.”

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