Friday, July 18, 2008

First, the beach. Then the bar exam. Then Iraq. Then the Georgia House of Representatives. Bed, Bath and Beyond if there's time.

When I showed up at the state Capitol in 2007, I went to a lot of committee meetings. And I wandered into one dealing with the Georgia Department of Community Health and its management of Medicaid. And there was this guy, very unassuming, wearing glasses, kind of goofy looking,* and he was just very calmly giving folks hell about a waiver program called Katie Beckett.

Some of the state's sickest children, those suffering from spina bifida, were having trouble getting the waiver and he was pushing a bill to make sure they got what they needed. It was all very complicated, and I didn't write about it. But I did leave impressed.

It was state Rep. Doug Collins, and he has a daughter with spina bifida.

Last night I heard that, not only is Rep. Collins considered one of the state's fighters for disabled children, but he graduated from law school this May. Oh, and he's a chaplain in the Air Force reserve, so he ships out to Iraq next month.

"I graduated in May and right now I'm preparing to take the bar before I leave," Collins said this morning. "And, on top of that, I'm trying to get in a last minute vacation."

I asked how he juggles all of that. His answer: "I've got a wife that's beyond belief."

Attention aspiring politicians of the Georgia 27th: Never run against this guy.

Collins, R-Gainesville, said he'd been pastoring for about 11 years when he decided to go to law school. He was in the Navy reserves years ago, and joined the Air Force reserve in 2002, he said.

He's worked as a chaplain for the local fire and police departments, and at Moody Air Force Base. So he's already worked with some soldiers who've been through the grinder. But this will be his first time in Iraq, and he'll be away from his family for the holidays. He expects to be back for the session in January.

"I've been continuing to try to get into better shape," he said. "Mentally, I think that's a different perspective. I'm still processing that. ... I can't think of a better place for a chaplain."

I asked him for a favorite Bible verse, and he suggested Psalm 91 as one he leans on:
You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday.

A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you. You will only observe with your eyes and see the punishment of the wicked.

If you make the Most High your dwelling — even the LORD, who is my refuge - then no harm will befall you, no disaster will come near your tent.

Lucid Idiocy wishes Rep. Collins, and all our men and women in uniform, good luck, and God speed.

Rep. Collins and his wife, Lisa. Image:

* This line due to Lucid Idiocy's policy of making fun of everyone. Sorry.


Raleighwood said...

WOW. That sure puts it in perspective. What an amazing fella. We wish him God Speed.

Allen Peake said...

Doug is a great guy, wonderful father, and good friend. It has been a pleasure to serve with him. And he is goofy looking....