Story by The Editorial Board/Rockford Register Star

Rosemary Collins fell in love with Rockford when she came here in 1980 as a newly hired Winnebago County assistant state’s attorney.

That love has been obvious in everything she’s done for the community since. Her leadership, passion for justice, and advocacy for women and children affected by domestic violence made her a deserving winner Thursday night of the Rockford Register Star’s Excalibur Award for community service.

Collins was appointed an associate judge in 1989, becoming the first female judge in the county’s history. She was elected to a full circuit court judgeship in 2002. She is retiring this year, but community advocates never really “retire.” Just ask any past Excalibur finalist or winner.

Collins, who also was an Excalibur finalist in 2015, has long dreamed of creating a Family Justice Center. In September, Rockford won a competitive $449,870 grant from the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Violence Against Women to help create such a center. Collins will be an integral part of making the center a success.

We consider Collins one of the hardest-working judges in the system and have seen her run an efficient and effective courtroom whether she’s dispensing justice to convicted killers or to Goldilocks.

Yes, that’s right: Goldilocks.

Collins would host Girl Scout troops for mock trials of Goldilocks, the infamous home invader of the Three Bears’ tale. It was a great way to teach girls how the criminal justice system worked.

We appreciate Collins’ passion for improving the lives of everyone in the community and we also appreciate her sense of humor.

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