FULTON – For Leroy Collins, life matters. And recently, he’s been running all over to drive home that message.
“I started running 5Ks to bring awareness to the not-for-profit organization in different cities that do great work, but have limited resources to help more of the people that are in need of help,” Collins explained.
The married father of three boys said he’s new to distance running (“Very new”), but it was in his heart to do this for the last eight years.
“I gained courage and took the next step in preparing myself for these 5Ks. I believe it is something I’m supposed to do,” he told Oswego County Today. “If a person wants to donate, I post all organizations’ information so people can contact the organizations directly. I call these runs Life Matters 5K.”
He is a former NFL player and now lives in Fulton where he owns a business.
“I went to Hudson High School and was a New York State rushing leader. I went to junior college and was a JC All-America running back,” he said.
He received a scholarship to play at the University of Louisville.
“I was a running back and broke seven school records and was second in the nation for rushing TDs with 22,” he said. “I was signed as free agent by the Washington Redskins, then signed by Jacksonville’s practice squad; was there for two years and then ventured in the CFL and XFL.”
His love of sports is reflected in his business.
He earned a master’s degree in sports management from the University of California of Pennsylvania.
“I train many athletes in Fulton. I am the Pop Warner Junior Peewee Football coach,” he said. “I own the Syracuse Strong football team in Syracuse and I’m partnered at Great Lakes Athletics in Fulton.”
His efforts help bring attention to organizations that help fight homelessness, hunger, abuse and those that support education, cancer research, ALS research and others, he said.
“What Life Matters means to me is love, caring, sharing sacrifice and togetherness,” he said. “It also means giving a little of yourself for the advancement or improvement of someone else’s life.”
He ran in Oswego on September 1 and posted information about many organizations in Oswego, but highlighted one – Bridge to Hope.
Then he ran in Fulton on September 8 and highlighted Parents of Special Children.
The response to Life Matters has been tremendous, Collins said, adding, “It’s growing every run. People said they have already seen an impact in their organization.”
“I will continue running in each city once or twice a month to bring awareness,” he added. “I would like to bring a stronger awareness and get more people to participate with me. My next run will be in Mexico September 22.”
For more information visit Facebook at leroycollins23 or Life Matters page.