Outgoing. Vibrant. Warm Hearted.

Those are some of the words that have been used to describe this week’s Warrior of the Week: Tara Lee Collins.

The 31-year-old Toms River South High School graduate has been in service since 2005, and continues to serve in the US Coast Guard Reserves.

Mary Ann Wrocklage, her mother, said that she nominated Collins as a “warrior” because she is a true symbol of patriotism.

Collins graduated from the US Merchant Marine Academy and then joined the military at the age of 22.

Upon graduation, Collins was commissioned into the Army with the 82nd Airborne.

In July of 2006, Collins was deployed to Iraq for one year.

While overseas, Collins held the position of Operations Officer and was in charge of directing Redeployment Assistance and Inspection Detachment (RAID) theater operations embedded with USA Surface Deployment & Distribution 831st Transportation Battalion.

Within the same enlistment, Collins ensured strict compliance with both the U.S. and International Maritime Dangerous Goods and the US Customs and Border Clearance Agent.

“She has a deep love for her country and fellow veterans and has wanted to serve her country since she was 10 years old,” said Wrocklage.

Collins is currently living in Arlington, Virginia as a police officer.

“Her three dogs are the love of her life,” said Wrocklage. “She loves animals and has completed dog training courses.”