Michael Collins is a guy I never really knew personally--met him in passing once when he was probably around 14 or so. His mom Kelly and I worked together at a local scrapbook and stamp store before my daughter was born. Kelly is the kind of mom who just beams with pride and love when talking about her kids--didn't matter if it was something good or bad her kids were up to, her love for her family was evident in almost everything she ever said and did. When I heard about a local drunk driving accident, I was upset. When I started seeing pictures pop up on Facebook of Kelly and Michael, I was sick and heartbroken. I couldn't believe that this victim with the serious brain injuries I had been reading about for a couple days was Kelly's son. The hashtag #MCSTRONG started appearing everywhere as friends and family took to social media to pray and show their support for Michael. Sadly, after several days and no chance for recovery, Michael passed away on April 2nd. He blessed many with his tissue and organ donation which was a final act of love and compassion. His legacy has truly been inspiring. Countless peers of his are involved with Random Acts of Kindness campaigns in his honor, Designated Driver schedules are being made and many are signing up for organ donation themselves. The call to action that so many in our community are feeling right now shows how much Michael and his family have impacted others in a positive way. The countless people who showed up yesterday for Michael's visitation was a humbling reminder of how one person can make such a difference in others' lives. As I sat waiting in the church, I looked around and saw an entire community of people wanting to pay their respects for various reasons. I saw how Kelly, her husband and son stood there for hours graciously accepting hugs, stories and handshakes. Two guys next to me looked rather uncomfortable in their dress clothes which looked a little worn and outdated. As we made our way up to see the family, I overheard one of the young men telling Kelly that they went to high school with Michael and that while they were not close friends, they came to pay their respects and wanted her to know what a great person Michael was. One boy explained that Michael always had a big, warm smile on his face and was just always inviting and welcoming to everyone--always made sure everyone was included. The fact that these guys came and waited two hours just to tell her this about her son really made me think about all of the people in that room who had come and gone and the stories they had to share and the impact Michael made on others simply by being kind. We can all take a page out of Michael's book that is for sure.
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