Honoring Those Who Serve

November 08, 2011

Honor_1Thursday evening, November 3, 2011, two Tampa men were honored by Saint Leo University for their service in the U.S. military and for their dedication to the Tampa Bay area. U.S. Naval Reserve Rear Admiral (retired) Leroy Collins, Jr., was honored posthumously, and a current leader at MacDill Air Force Base, U.S. Air Force Colonel David P. Pavey, was recognized for his decades of service at the 2011 Afterburner’s Reception at the home of Don and Erin Phillips in South Tampa.

The 2011 Afterburner’s Reception was created to honor the Armed Forces and to be a precursor to the 2011 MacDill AirFest weekend. Saint Leo University has been educating military service personnel in the Tampa Bay area since 1973, and operates teaching locations both at MacDill Air Force Base and in Channelside at the new Tampa Education Center.

During the evening’s program, the late Rear Admiral Collins was recognized for his 34-year career in the military and his significant contributions to the state of Florida and the Tampa Bay area.

Leroy Collins, Jr., retired as a two-star Rear Admiral in 1990. During his 10 years of active service, he served as an analyst for Naval Intelligence in Washington, D.C., and a ballistic missile weapons officer. While a naval reservist, Admiral Collins served as commanding officer of the USS Thrush, and later served as commanding officer of various Navy Reserve submarine units. He was the Navy's liaison to the Florida National Guard and later commanding officer of the Navy liaison unit at U.S. Readiness Command, headquartered at MacDill Air Force Base.

Later he was appointed by former Governor Charlie Crist as the executive director of the Florida Department of Veterans' Affairs. Admiral Collins founded the Florida Veterans Foundation, Inc. Roy Collins III, one of the admiral’s sons, and his wife Mary Ellen accepted the token of appreciation from Saint Leo University President Arthur F. Kirk, Jr., during the reception.

Honor_2 The second honoree, Colonel Pavey, currently commands the 927th Air Refueling Wing at MacDill Air Force Base. Colonel Pavey is responsible for the worldwide readiness of a combined Reserve and civilian wing of approximately 800 people. The 927th Air Refueling Wing flies the KC-135R Stratotanker, whose missions consist of in-flight air refueling, cargo and passenger airlift, aero medical evacuation, and supporting contingencies and humanitarian operations around the world.

Colonel Pavey also flew the C-5 Galaxy in Operations Desert Shield, Desert Storm and Desert Calm. He has earned the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star, Meritorious Service Medal with two oak leaf clusters, Air Medal, Aerial Achievement with one oak leaf cluster, Air Force Commendation Medal, and Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal with one bronze star. He was commissioned as an officer in 1983.

Pavey said, “We benefit greatly from having the eye-watering support from the Tampa community, and we appreciate it greatly. That was an extremely enjoyable event and your guests were awesome!”

Saint Leo University extends its thanks also to Tampa’s Columbia Restaurant for catering the event. The Columbia Restaurant has been serving the Tampa Bay area since 1905.

For more information on the 2011 Afterburner’s Reception, please contact Jib Reagan at Saint Leo University at (352) 588-8120.