Into the darkness – A tribute to Glen Collins
Most of you that will read this, will have never known who Glen Collins was. Many who will read or hear this will never have known him like I knew him. You will never know that Glen Collins was a force to be reckoned with. That Glen at one time was a proud Navy SEAL; not just a Navy SEAL but a Navy SEAL who became a SEAL Platoon Chief and then went on to become a SEAL Officer.
You will never know him as a hard charging, coffee chugging, cigarette smoking, hairy small man that we affectionately called The Troll. You will never know his as the training and operations planning mastermind. The man who would create giant Excel spread sheets and spend hours taping them together to ensure all training for our SEAL Team could be effectively completed and planned out for the next several years. You will never know, the Training Officer, who on more occasions than I can count, stuck his neck out to save the careers of many a young Frogman, myself included. You will never know the intensity and fire he brought to everything he did, and the crazy maniacal look he got in his eyes as he figured out a problem and proclaimed himself the “Super Genius” in his crazy eccentric accent.
You will never know him as the family man that I did; a man who cherished his sons and who doted on his only daughter as if she was the last princess left on earth. A man who mentored me to be a better SEAL and encouraged and supported me to become a SEAL Leader. You will not know him as the man who told me to stop being a moron and go get my future wife back, after I got cold feet and impulsively broke up with her. You will not know him as the crazy man who led the charge to give me the traditional SEAL wedding hazing the night before my wedding or the man who stood next to me on my wedding day as I married the girl I almost let go. You will not know the man, who my family spent a week with him and his family only a few years ago, traveling through the Pacific Northwest. The man who I reduced myself to looking like Marvin the Martian in a giant oversized red helmet to ride around in a Hot-Red three- wheeled scooter to make our kids happy, as we laughed and heckled ourselves all the way around San Juan Island.
You will not know the man, who I shared a great dinner and drinks with only a year ago, telling stories of an amazing past military life and hope for a bright future. But more than anything, you will not know him as a good father, son, brother, leader, mentor, teammate, groomsman, confidant, and friend. With our crazy busy lives, I had only talked to Glen a few times over the last year and then last week, I received word that Glen Collins took his own life.
I was dumbfounded to hear the news. Not the Troll. Not the Super Genius. Not the Father, Teammate and Friend. No way that hairy bastard killed himself. He was too strong for that…….
But it was true. My friend succumbed to the darkness and demons, that we once trained to defeat. So today, for those of you that read this, I hope you have a better appreciation for who Glen Collins was. I hope you’ll take time to honor the man you didn’t know. And if you did know him, honor the man who made you laugh, cry, saved your career, pushed you to be better, and many times, drove you crazy. But more than anything, honor him by reaching out to those you haven’t seen or talked to in a while, check in on them and ask them if they’re OK………….
And tell them my friend, the Super Genius sent you.