Thomas E. Collins

Thomas E. Collins

Vietnam Veteran, Retired Police Officer and Creator of the Forgotten Warriors Vietnam Museum in Cape May Airport NJ

Tom Collins struggled throughout his life with PTSD and many medical ailments but after he settled in Cape May NJ in late 1990's, he found it to be a very patriotic place with lots of support allowing him the freedom to share his experience with others without the guilt. This awakening lead him to want to a place to display his and other Vietnam veteran memorabilia in hopes to educate the public and support other veterans. Tom created a mobile education trailer full of historical memorabilia and would visit schools to help educate children about Vietnam. The Aviation Museum helped Tom by providing a small room to display the items but it quickly just was not big enough.

With the help of the county, many friends, family and Tom's undying persistence, a building was built in 2008 on the grounds of the Cape May Airport across the road from the Aviation Museum. The museum continued to quickly filled up and was thriving. Tom's routine for over 10 years with his wife Theresa's help and other volunteers was opening & maintaining the museum to educate visitors every single day.

Sadly after the passing of Tom's wife Theresa Collins in 2018, his health rapidly declined. Tom's family was able to help get his mental and physical health back to the best it could be. This allowed Tom a second chance to clean up & revive the museum, mend broken relationships and start to heal with Diginity through the Museum that he created.

Tom's determination and spirit to preserve every inch of the museum echoed in the countless plans & phone calls he made to his family and our new group of Vietnam veteran volunteers. Tom directed everyone on how, who & what was needed to be done for the museum everyday up until a couple days before his passing on April 5, 2022.

The Vietnam Veteran volunteers gave Tom more than just help at the museum to keep the doors open....They gave him friendship and understanding because they also lived the life of a Vietnam Vet. Tom would greet, answer questions and educate visitors and now our new group of Vietnam Veterans continue to be the heart of the museum that makes it such a special place to visit.

The Museum educates the public, preserves personal artifacts but most importantly provides a place of pride, acceptance and support to the Veterans. Acceptance & support is what gave Tom the courage to start the museum and that is what he ultimately wanted to give back.

So respectfully, we turn the page, and continue on with the mission

To honor, support & preserve the legacy of Vietnam veterans and welcome them home.

In this new chapter, we welcome Tom Collins home, here along the 100's of men and women's legacies & artifacts in this museum that will not be forgotten. We are determined to protect and grow the museum to welcome home veterans, their families and educate future generations.