The Parkhurt Civic Association, Chet's home civic, and the Elmont Community Coalition Council, an organization Chet presided over, joined the Collins family and close friends in a bitter - sweet farewell at The Valley Stream Baptist Church on Saturday, September 8. The church service comforted mourners with prayer, tributes and song.The Going Home service began when Chet's close friend Deacon Carl Thompson led the congregation in an opening prayer and reading of the scripture.
Tributes from Parkhurst's representative Aubrey Phillips and CCC President Joyce Stowe framed the range of Mr. Collins' civic contribution. Chet joined the Parkhurst Civic association in 1979 and the Civilian Patrol in 1980. He was a delegate to the CCC then served as the organization's President.
Phillips told the congregation and the Collins family that the community owes them a great debt. "You’ve unselfishly shared Chet with us" said Phillips. After highlighting Chet’s work advocating for building the Elmont Public Library Phillips noted "[Chet's] works ... his kind acts were without calculated self interest."
Stowe began her tribute by quoting John Donne "any mans death diminishes me, because I am involved in Mankinde; And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; It tolls for thee...." It was clear to all that Ms. Stowe’s remarks were deeply felt. Ms. Stowe had cancelled the first fall meeting of the CCC in respect and recognition of the passing of her dear friend and colleague.
The last tribute added to Chet’s fullness as a person and most importantly as a brother to his sister. A sister who could not be there in person but whose written words moved the congregation to tears.
After a sobering sermon from Pastor Clark, the congregation stood and sang “Precious Memories” as Chet’s body was escorted to its final resting place by members of the Civilian Patrol.
Precious memories, how they linger,
How they ever flood my soul;
In the stillness of the midnight,
Precious, sacred scenes unfold.
As I travel on life's pathway,
Know not what the years may hold;
As I ponder, hope grows fonder,
Precious memories flood my soul.