“So to you, Michael, I say thank you for the life you lived. Thank you for the choices that you made,” said Kelly Collins, his mother.
Since Michael Collins' death on April 2, which came after his car was struck by an alleged drunk driver, the outpouring of support has continued to fuel a community's healing process.
"The roller coaster ride that we've been on since the night of the accident, but the beauty of it is that so many wonderful things have come from the tragedy,” said Jim Collins, his father.
Known for his gritty play on the baseball diamond, and magnetic personality off of it, Collins' organ and tissues donations have already reached 200 people, including a blind woman in New York.
"A gift of sight for her and a gift of eternal life for Michael, and to that I say, to God be the glory."
"Michael made us proud a lot during his 22 years on earth and continues to make us proud with the impact that he's having,” said Jim Collins.
And that made this moment, receiving a special gift from the Illinois Secretary of State, even more special.
"It didn't take us long to find out what a fine young man he was and continues to be,” said ISU president Dr. Larry Dietz.
Now, with Michael's diploma, and that honor from White, there’s a reminder that lesson can always ring true.
"You proved it to us every single day. We love you and we'll continue to be united as MC Strong,” said Kelly Collins.
The family will continue its #MCStrong efforts in the future. Secretary White says this truly reinforces the message not to drink and drive.
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