Collins#039; legacy deserves honor on Saturday

Published 12:00 am Friday, February 4, 2005

Nothing is as good as it once was. That's the sentiment that many people in our area have about all sorts of issues.

And often in this space we point out how that belief is often simply not true.

We point out how things change and, while change can be uncomfortable for some, it's rarely as bad as it may seem when it first occurs.

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Despite our pleas, some folks will continue to argue that days gone by were simply better.

"Nothing is as good as it once was," may not be true most of the time, but we remembered an exception and his name was "Oakley."

Drive a few miles up the road to Columbus and he was "State Senator Oakley C. Collins."

But here in Southeastern Ohio, he was just plain old "Oakley" and for many of his constituents, he was beyond compare.

From his thick-rimmed glasses to his thick grin, Oakley was one of us. But he was one of use who could get things done in Columbus with "them."

For nearly half a century, Collins commanded respect in Columbus and managed to bring untold good to his southeast Ohio home.

On Saturday, friends and family will gather to officially dedicate a plaque to honor Collins' lifetime of work at the vocational school that bears his name - Collins Career Center.

Collins would be proud of the facility and what it means for the vocational education of students in Lawrence County.

If you don't believe the impact Collins had through his years of service, mention his first name in a group of folks who lived in Lawrence County through his many years of public service and watch what happens.

Almost without a doubt, someone in the group will have an "Oakley story."

The circumstances may change, but the stories usually fall into one of two categories. The first kind of story will feature Oakley doing what he did best - getting stuff done for southeast Ohio and helping its citizens. The second may be a funny story that simply illustrates Oakley's great charisma that was seen throughout his life.

On Saturday, rest assured that Oakley will be looking down on the ceremony, peering through those big glasses with a great grin slicing across his face.