Airmen of the Burgh: Tech. Sgt. Collins

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Marjorie A. Bowlden
  • 911th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

As an occupational safety technician at the 911th Airlift Wing, Tech. Sgt. Steven Collins’s primary duties and responsibilities revolve around the prevention and investigation of mishaps here.


Collins is a member of an Air Force family. His father served on active duty, and Collins and his family moved from March Air Force Base, California, to the Canton, Ohio, area when he was about seven years old. He did not join the Air Force right out of high school, but instead tried to join the work force. However, while working at a plastics factory, he discovered that something was missing.


“I went outside on my lunch break and I saw that my hands were straight black from all the soot,” he said. “I thought that there has to be something better.”


Collins then joined the Air Force Reserve in 2004 as an information management troop and has been with the 911th AW ever since. He worked in administration positions within the wing staff, especially in the safety office, before transitioning into the safety career field last year.


Master Sgt. Michael Bevan, a fellow occupational safety technician and Collins’s supervisor, said that Collins has been a valuable addition to the 911th AW safety office. He carries his knowledge from his previous career field to assist in the administration of the office as well as the general work of their field.


“I can’t see being in the office without Collins in it,” said Bevan. “He’s so involved in every part of it.”


Collins said that though he enjoys the work, his favorite part of the job is the people he works with. However, one can strongly see his motivation in what he defines as the most rewarding part of his job.


“Doing my job could save someone’s life,” he said. “It’s knowing that my thoughts and my opinions could make a difference. I love it.”


Collins also recently became the acting first sergeant for the wing staff. According to Bevan, he has taken on this new responsibility in stride without compromising the quality of his work for the shop.


He has transitioned through several jobs in the civilian world, but he has decided that it is time to settle into a career. Collins says that within the next five years, he hopes to go to college and further his education within the safety management career field.


Collins said that the best advice he has for Airmen is not to take the job for granted. He advises not to get bogged down in repetitive or everyday tasks. Instead, they should be able to see how their work and words affect the world and their fellow Airmen.


“Everybody needs to be able to take a step back and realize what we do, how we affect the world, and how we affect each other in everyday conversations,” he said. “A miracle is not always born in unusual or unforeseen circumstances. A miracle is always born with hellos.”