Collins: Example to young Highland County women

At 31, became first female county prosecutor

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Editor’s note: This is the fourth of a five-part series on the five local women who will be inducted into the Highland County Women’s Hall of Fame at the annual recognition dinner on Tuesday, Aug. 16. The event starts at 6 p.m. at the Southern State Community College Atrium in Hillsboro. Tickets are $16 each and can be purchased at The Times-Gazette.

I would like to nominate Anneka P. Collins, Highland County prosecutor, to the Highland County Women’s Hall of Fame. I believe her qualifications for this honor to be outstanding. Collins has overcome much adversity in her life and has successfully triumphed in the many tasks which she has chosen to undertake.

Family, faith, and community are all driving forces in Anneka’s life. Many of the young women in our county consider her to be a role model. It is my opinion that Anneka Collins represents everything for which the Highland County Women’s Hall of Fame stands.

Anneka Collins has been a resident of Highland County for approximately 31 years. She feels that there is no other place more suitable for her and her husband to raise their young family. She has been married to Josh Collins, of Doug Marine Motors, for six years. They have two daughters, Dalayna, 5 years old, and Paysen, 18 months. Anneka is also a stepmother to Riley, who is 6-1/2 years old.

Anneka, Josh, and their family attend the Marshall Church of Christ, where she serves as a children’s Sunday School teacher. Anneka enjoys working with the children on creative projects and being instrumental in increasing the faith of a child.

Anneka has a strong agricultural background, having been raised on a farm in Highland County. She grew up learning to work hard on the family farm and contribute to the family business. By her experience in agriculture, Anneka represents to young women of the county that they, too, can be active in agribusinss and it is not a vocation for men only. During her formative years, she was active in both 4-H and FFA. She received her State Farmer’s Degree in 1997 and her American Farmer’s Degree in 1998. She also received multiple awards in beef production and public speaking, including placing third overall as an extemporaneous public speaker at the Junior Nationals in 2000. Anneka has chosen to pass on her interest in 4-H and agriculture by encouraging her children to exhibit swine at area livestock shows.

Anneka graduated from Hillsboro High School in 1997. She then proceeded to further her education by attending The Ohio State University. In just over two years, she graduated from the university with a bachelor’s degree in English. Following graduation from Ohio State in 2000, she graduated from the Dayton School of Law and passed the Ohio Bar Exam in 2005. Following graduation and the passing of the bar exam, Anneka spent time practicing law in the private sector.

Anneka’s career with the Highland County Prosecutor’s Office began in March 2006 as she was hired as an assistant prosecutor practicing in juvenile court. While holding this position, she prosecuted over 3,200 delinquent and unruly cases in five years and was successful in protecting 335 children through active representation of Highland County Children Services. Her dedication to children and their well-being goes far beyond the normal expectations. She has worked closely with the Children Services Agency to ensure that those in harm’s way are protected.

In June of 2011, Anneka was appointed Highland County prosecutor by the Highland County Republican Central Committee. Three accomplished attorneys were vying for the position. The two other candidates interviewing for the position were male. Once the central committee made its decision, Anneka became the first female to hold the office of Highland County prosecutor. Overcoming overwhelming statistics to the contrary, and becoming one of the few that accomplish such a feat, Anneka became prosecutor at age 31. According to the American Bar Association Commission on Women in the Profession, “A Current Glance at Women in the Law 2011”:

• Thirty-one percent of the legal profession are women;

• Almost 19 percent of Fortune 500 counsel are women;

• Twenty-six percent of state and federal judges are women;

• In 2009, female attorneys earned 25.1 percent less than their male counterparts.

Out of 88 counties in Ohio, there are 10 female prosecutors. By acquiring the position of Highland County prosecutor, Anneka is an example to young women everywhere that with hard work and dedication, as well as a love for the community, much can be achieved.

In December 2011, Anneka encouraged her office to adopt a family through Highland County Community Action. While making a routine call to check on the status of the adopted family, Anneka learned that there were still over 400 children in our community that were not going to have any presents under their Christmas tree. In her mind, this was an unacceptable situation. She gathered others together, in and out of her office, and spearheaded a massive toy drive to ensure that no child in Highland County would be without something to open on Christmas morning. Toys and money were collected from area citizens, local businesses, and churches. Anneka spent many hours of her personal time shopping to get just the right gift for each child and often stayed in the office until late into the night wrapping those gifts.

Anneka is currently a member of Farm Bureau, Hillsboro Rotary, Junior Women’s League, NRA, Ohio Township Association and Republican Central Committee. She is also vice president of the Highland County Bar Association. She is a past member of Altrusa, Highland County Law Library Association, and South Central Regional Detention Board.

Anneka’s faith, her devotion to family, and her dedication to our community all demonstrate what a great example she is, and continues to strive to be, to Highland County women. Her achievements have not only helped to pave the way for women involved in law enforcement and politics, but for women involved in agriculture as well. Highland County women of all ages can look at Anneka, our Highland County prosecutor, and realize that their dreams, too, can become a reality.

Submitted by the Highland County Women’s Hall of Fame.

At 31, became first female county prosecutor

Submitted story