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Senator Jarrid "Jay" Collins
Army Special Forces Combat Veteran
Jarrid “Jay” Collins is a highly-decorated Army Special Forces combat veteran and Purple Heart recipient with over two decades of service following in the footsteps of his WWII veteran adoptive father.
Adopted and raised by his grandparents, Rep. Collins spent his early years on his family’s farm in Montana where he later started college before enlisting in the Army. Senator Collins attended American Military University earning a B.S. in Health Sciences, and later a graduate degree from Norwhich University in 2012.
While attending Airborne School, our nation was attacked on 9/11. This harsh reality, coupled with hearing stories about Special Forces soldiers who were on the forward edge of the War on Terror, Rep. Collins was inspired to attend Special Forces Assessment and Selection (SFAS). He was selected to become a Special Force Medic, rescuing a hypothermic classmate in the middle of an ice storm, and earned the leadership award at his Special Forces Graduation. As a Green Beret, Rep. Collins deployed to Afghanistan, Iraq, and twice to South America. In his 2007 Afghanistan deployment, he was hit in the arm, continued fighting, and later helped perform surgery on himself in the field of battle. Staying in country, he returned to full combat operations after just thirty days of recovery. Rep. Collins would overcome his chronic injuries to be selected for US Army Special Operations Command, but ultimately had to have his leg amputated due to the severity of his condition. Following his amputation, he requalified as a fully deployable Green Beret and served over five more years on active duty.
Following twenty-three years of service, Rep. Collins took a position with a nonprofit, overseeing the distribution of millions of meals to veterans, first responders, and those in need.
As a committed family man, Rep. Collins is married to his wife of twenty-one years Layla, a retired veteran with twenty years of service herself, and a father to two young sons, Gabe and Colt. Having chosen Tampa as the place to raise their family, proud Floridians Jay and Layla are dedicated to serving their community.
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