Chuck Collins

From left, Ransom Stone, Andrea Shelly, Chuck Collins and Kelleen Loftus pose for a photo at the MCCS New River Fitness Center, Oct. 29. Collins was presented with a sweatshirt for completing the 1,000 mile Devil Fish Swim Challenge.

Chuck Collins, a retired U.S. Marine Corps lieutenant colonel, completed the 1,000 mile Devil Fish Swim Challenge at the Marine Corps Air Station New River Pool on Oct. 29, his 72nd birthday.

Collins, who served 24 years in the Marine Corps, began the challenge six and a half years ago when a lifeguard at the pool asked him to get involved. The aquatics team set goals for him of 50 miles, 100 miles, 250 miles and so on all the way up to 1,000 miles.

“I just got goal-oriented and started swimming like crazy,” Collins said. “It really is a great program. The folks at the air station pool are wonderful, and they were really encouraging.”

Collins said he got into swimming because it is an exercise he can do without it bothering his joints. Whereas running might aggravate his knees and ankles, swimming enables Collins to exercise nearly all of the muscles in his body without the strain of running.

Collins is a recipient of the Order of the Long Leaf Pine, an award granted by North Carolina’s Office of the Governor to honor individuals who have shown extraordinary service to the state. He is also a retired vice chair of Marine Federal Credit Union.

Over the years, swimming has been a constant way for Collins to get good exercise and enjoy himself while doing so.

“There’s no better feeling than to have a good exercise,” Collins said.