County leader gives “last call”

PENDER COUNTY (WWAY) — A final goodbye always hits differently.

It was an emotional day for Emergency Management Director Tom Collins as he gave his ‘last call’ after a decade of service with the county.

“Pender I just want to thank you for all the work you’ve done over the past ten years here” Collins said.

He’s served in Pender County since 2009, but his extensive career started 42-years ago.

“I’m lucky to be here cause I’ve done about everything,” Collins expressed.

He’s worn many hats.

First as a law enforcement officer in Boone, then a deputy sheriff, and a state trooper all before transitioning into emergency management.

“It’s hard to look back and say what’s the most memorable moment, and I think all of them,” Collins said.

He retired, but then rejoined the work force here in Pender County.

Fire Marshal Tommy Batson has spent a lot of time working with Collins, and has shared some significant moments.

“The large fires in 2011, the many, floods in the northeast Cape Fear River to include holidays and weekends we had to come in and work, and help manage the situation,” Batson said.

Collins also helped raise funds for Hurricane Florence recovery.

Nashville Country Singer Lee Gannt performed a hurricane relief concert. The band’s drummer is Collin’s son, Brian.

Brian and his sister couldn’t miss the last call.

He told WWAY, “I got to watch my dad go to work when everything happened. The storms and seeing him do his job. It’s an amazing thing, what he gets to do.”

Collins says he’ll be enjoying his time with family, all while relaxing.

His last day as the director is December 31. Chuck Tear will be the new director.

Categories: Community, Local

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