ALLIANCE, Ohio (News Talk 1480 WHBC) – A fraternity at the University of Mount Union has been working extra hard to show one of their active members the true meaning of brotherhood.
A few weeks ago, Justin Collins, a junior at Mount Union received the horrible news that his father, Rolland “Sonny” Collins, had unexpectedly passed away at the age of 59 from a heart attack.
Justin found out that his father died while he was studying abroad in Russia. Just two years earlier, Collins had lost his mother, Kimberly, unexpectedly. Now, at the age of 20 and on the other side of the world, both of his parents were gone.
When Collins was at his lowest is when some of his newer “family” members came to his side. After hearing what had happened, Collins’ fraternity brothers in the Beta Iota chapter of the Sigma Nu fraternity wanted to help in any way they could.
The first step was getting him back in the United States.
“We scrambled and got him home Sunday,” said the fraternity’s chapter adviser and Mount Union Professor Dr. Mark Himmelein. “The funeral was on Tuesday so it was good to get him back here for that.”
After finding a way for Collins to properly say goodbye to his father, Sigma Nu’s next goal was to find a way for him to return to where he had came from.
Collins is a National Security major with minors in Russian and German. After traveling to Russia with Himmelein and another member of Sigma Nu on a philanthropy trip a few years prior, he determined that it would be the best for his education to return there and study prior to the start of his senior year.
Thanks to the hard work of his father, who according to Himmelein picked up extra shifts to fund his son’s educational goals, Collins was able to head overseas. Now without his father’s financial support, Sigma Nu found a way to make sure their brother was able to keep chasing his dream.
“We kinda talked about setting up a type of funding campaign during our chapter meeting,” said Himmelein. ” I believe the true credit goes to Steele.”
Steele Porter, a senior student at Mount Union who served as Sigma Nu’s President in 2019, brought forth the idea of creating a go fund me account for Collins. In addition to him needing cash for a flight back to Russia to continue his studies, Collins would need money to live off of until his program ended in June.
The original goal Sigma Nu had in mind was $3,000. That was broken within the first 24 hours the account was made. The goal was then increased to $5,000, which was also surpassed earlier this week.
While Porter and the other brothers of Sigma Nu started the funding campaign, the donations have come from more than just active and alumni members of the Fraternity. Other professors, Greek life organizations and even sports teams have donated to help support Collins.
Justin will fly back to Russia next week, where he will continue studying until the summer when he returns to the United States for his senior year in Alliance. While both of his parents are now gone, he still has an older (biological) brother Josh and an entire community in Alliance who have shown they are determined to help him reach his goals regardless of the challenges that life throws his way.
If you are interested in donating to support Justin as he moves forward, you can do so by visiting his go-fund me page by clicking here.