Then America was attacked.
The 31-year-old father of two decided he wanted to do something to help.
Collins arrived In New York on Sunday with a group of friends who ran all the way to New York from their hometown, Linton, Ind. a journey of some 800 miles.
Along the way, they raised more than $8,000 for the families of cops and firefighters killed in the Twin Towers tragedy.
"It's been an emotional, wonderful experience," his wife, Nicole, told The Post. "We just wanted to create a positive story."
Collins left Indiana on Sept. 16, carrying an American flag from Legion Post 22 in Linton. He and the other runners averaged 30 to 60 miles a day and were greeted with cheers everywhere they went.
They completed their odyssey at ground zero about noon. And what a trip it's been.
For the entire journey, his wife said, the runners were escorted by state and local police, with many cops giving them badges as souvenirs for their beleaguered Big Apple brothers in blue.
"We thought that maybe people were sick of seeing our flag burned on the front pages of our papers," Nicole Collins said. "We've met thousands of great people, including a lot of veterans. This was our way of doing something positive."
She said the experience has been unforgettable.