Citizens Turn Out to Support Dr. Collins
by John DeSpelder
Around 50 people turned o ut to support Dr. Michael Collins at the County Health Department on Thursday, September 30. Dr. Collins’ contract as medical director was not renewed by Grand Traverse County, after 28 years of devoted and unblemished service. County Administrator Nate Alger said that the decision was made after consulting with Health Department chief Wendy Hirschenberger, but it’s clear that Alger did it with full knowledge that the powers that be on the County Board of Commissioners, i.e., Rob Hentschel, would not have been pleased if Collins’ contract were renewed.
Many see this as a retaliatory move in response to Dr. Collins’ August 27 op ed in the Traverse City Record Eagle, where he called out the GT Board, saying that they had “crossed the line from illogical opinion to irresponsibility” when the Board passed a resolution on “Vaccine Awareness and Medical Autonomy” that gagged county health officials from taking measures that may be necessary in the fight against COVID.
The rally happened the day after the news of Dr. Collins’ termination broke. With very little notice, it was extremely gratifying to see 50 people turn out to voice their support for Dr Collins, science, and civility. TV 7&4 made the rally part of its lead coverage in the 6 pm news, devoting around two minutes to the rally’s message that the community was heartbroken and upset that Dr. Collins was terminated. As Dr. Susan Smith said to the Traverse City Record Eagle,
“Doctors need to give the information about the science, not the politicians. They have an agenda.”
While Dr. Collins was not at the Health Department yesterday, he later reached out to convey his gratitude for the support of the community. He said:
I want to thank you for the wonderful demonstration at the Health Department today, and I hope there’s a way that you can thank those who attended. A co-worker who was in the building at the time described it to me as “peaceful and lovely”. I’m sorry that I wasn’t there. I’ve been working from home since the pandemic began, and I hadn’t heard about your rally until very shortly before it began. But I saw the 7&4 report on it, and it certainly has accomplished the goal of making me feel appreciated and supported. It’s amazing that people would take time out of their day like that. So - you made me feel wonderful! Please let the others know how grateful I am for their time and their support.
Mike Collins, MD
As responsible citizens, we cannot let the termination of Dr. Collins go, we have to push back. What’s next?
People need to speak up. You can do this in a number of ways, such as:
Contact your county commissioner, or even contact all of them, there’s a group email address for doing that. Here’s the link for the commissioners’ contact info: https://www.gtcountymi.gov/184/Board-of-Commissioners
Go to the County Board of Commissioners meeting and make a public comment. The next meeting is on Wednesday, October 6, at 8am. You must be there in person to comment.
Write a letter to the editor, such as to the TC Record-Eagle or the Northern Express.
Talk with your friends and neighbors. Many people aren’t even aware of what’s going on in the county. They need to be informed.