Folsom A to Z: B.T. Collins

By: Rachel Zirin, Senior Reporter
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Editor’s note: Folsom A to Z is an intermittent series in the Telegraph where readers can learn facts and history about Folsom. Each week, the Telegraph will select a landmark, place, historical figure and major historical event that start with the next letter of the alphabet. This week we continue with “C.”

  • Brien Thomas Collins was born on October 17, 1940, in Mt. Vernon, N.Y.
  • Collins served our country in the U.S. Army from 1963 to 1968 as a Green Beret and was awarded the Purple Heart after losing an arm and a leg during his time in Vietnam.
  • Collins survived 19 surgeries throughout the course of 22 months, and medically retired as a captain in December of 1968.
  • After practicing law, he became placement director at his alma mater, Santa Clara University.
  • In 1976, Collins came to Sacramento serving as deputy legislative secretary and eventually, executive secretary and chief of staff to Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr.
  • In addition, Collins was the director of the California Conservation Corps (1979-1981), vice president of Kidder, Peabody, and Co. banking firm (1983-1989) and chief deputy state treasurer (1989-1991).
  • In September of 1991, Collins was elected as State Assemblyman of the fifth district, which he fulfilled until he died in 1993.
  • Collins tirelessly worked for causes he believed in and will be remembered for his activism and contributions.
  • Collins advocated on Folsom’s behalf for Intel’s expansion in 1993 and the Lake Natoma Crossing Bridge.
  • Additionally, he was an unrelenting supporter of WEAVE (Women Escaping a Violent Environment) and pushed for the creation of the California Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Capitol Park.
  • Collins was also involved in supporting the California Youth Authority, California Commission on Educational Quality, Naval Post Graduate Advisory Committee, C.O.R.O Northern California, Veterans Administration Advisory Committee on the Readjustment of Vietnam Veterans, American Cancer Society-Sacramento/Amador Chapter, Board of Regents, Santa Clara University and State Assembly Committees on: Human Services, Parks and Wildlife, Education, Judiciary and Water.
  • B.T. Collins Park was named in his honor and is located at 828 Willow Creek Drive.