Former Versailles resident earns UVMC Employee of the Year award


TROY — Upper Valley Medical Center (UVMC) honors a person each month as an Employee of the Month and subsequently one of those 12 people is named Employee of the Year, of which I was honored.

This year, former Versailles resident Merlin Collins was presented the award at the annual employee banquet in mid-October by Rebecca Rice, the CEO of UVMC.

“I work at Upper Valley Medical Center Outpatient Pharmacy as a managing pharmacist and have been here since opening the pharmacy in April 2013, ” said Collins. “It was quite an unexpected honor for I have only been an employee at UVMC such a short time. I really enjoy what I do filling prescriptions for the patients of the hospital who are being discharges and my fellow employees. When you love your job as much as I do, I guess it is easy to provide customer service people notice”

Collins said he has been a pharmacist for 33 years and still greatly enjoys the profession.

“Here at the hospital, I fill for patients who are going home from the hospital,” he said. “The family members like the convenience of filling their prescriptions in UVMC Pharmacy without having to stop at local pharmacy in the way home. In addition, we fill prescriptions for the employees of the hospital. They have become like family to me. UVMC is a great place to work.”

Collins was born and raised in Versailles.

“Much of my family still lives there,” he said. “I owned Owl Drugs, the community pharmacy, but went out of business in 2000. While living in Versailles I was involved in school activities, music programs, Boy Scouts, and the youth soccer program. Once I closed Owl Drugs, my job took me out of the immediate area.”

He graduated from Versailles High School and the University of Cincinnati, and now lives in St. Paris with his wife, Jody.

“When I opened Owl Drugs in Versailles, I thought I would be there forever, but you never know what changing economic conditions play,” Collins said. “And, we certainly know how health care has changed over the years. With that being said, the profession of pharmacy provides many opportunities. I have been able to be a pharmacy owner, work for a chain drugstore, a pharmacy in the hospital providing care for inpatients and now UVMC Pharmacy.”

His father is Ed Collins, who still lives in Versailles and his mother is the late Phyllis Collins, who passed away a couple of years ago.

“My father was the owner of Collins Super Valu located in Versailles for many, many years,” he recalled. “I grew up in the grocery. The highlight of my career was having the drugstore across the street from Dad’s grocery for many years. Dad was certainly my mentor. He taught my and my four brothers and sisters how to treat people with kindness and respect…always going the extra mile to help anybody, so much so that my sister, Beth, was also honored with a similar employee recognition, at her place of employment just a few weeks after I received mine.”

In his spare time, Collins like to run, hike and visit his children and grandchildren.

“I’m involved at church and currently planning a medical mission trip to Jamaica in February 2016,” he said.

By Linda Moody

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Linda Moody may be reached at 937-569-4315. Follow her on Facebook and join the conversation and get updates on Facebook by searching Darke County Sports or Advocate 360. For more features online go to

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