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Joe Clements: Honoring Carl Enis, a genuine American hero

Ed. Note The following is a reprint of a Sunday Facebook post by Florida campaign consultant and entrepreneur Joe Clements. Clements wrote the post in memoriam of Air Force Staff Sergeant Carl Enis, a Tallahassee resident and husband of lobbyist Angela Drzewiecki. Enis was killed in a helicopter crash in Iraq late Thursday along with six other servicemen. News of Enis’ death made the front page of the Tallahassee Democrat on Saturday

Two days before Carl’s helicopter went down in Iraq, we were texting about an outdoor business he wanted to start when he got home and planning a late season elk hunting trip.

The trip would have been an adventure and the business would have been successful.

That’s just how things worked with Carl.

I met Carl through my dog.

In 2011, we adopted Jasper from Last Hope Rescue, founded and run by Carl’s wife Angela. Over the next few years, my wife Sara became friends with Angela as we volunteered and fostered dogs for Last Hope.

Angela is an exceptional woman who became among Sara’s closest friends.

As Angela and Carl did for so many people in Tallahassee, they hosted us at their home for dinners. Meals at their house always included wild game and/or fish provided by Carl.

Carl told me once that he had not purchased meat from a store in at least three years.

When you met Carl, he would tell you about his wild hunting experiences and you’d think, “Carl’s a good dude, maybe I should try hunting.”

What usually you had to learn about Carl from others is that he was a multilingual, financially well-off, athletically gifted, elite special operations warrior who recently earned an MBA from Florida State.

There is a reason many of his memoriam posts on his Facebook page include the term “badass.”

Carl is among the few people for whom it is true that he could have been almost anything he wanted. Carl chose to become a special operations warrior who specialized in the most difficult rescue missions by going through a training pipeline so grueling that it suffers higher attrition than the Navy SEAL training pipeline.

Carl could skydive, scuba dive, rock climb, mountaineer, ATV, shoot, fight, pilot airplanes, ski, provide trauma care, track, hunt, fish, survive and do them all well.

Last July, Carl sent me a text that said “Want to do an antelope hunt in Wyoming?” To which I responded “Hell yes!”

In October, we flew out west and proceeded to wreck a rental car into a deer, get swindled by a rancher selling bogus land access, fill our antelope tags on public land and spend a night at the Aspen ranch of a billionaire gas industry magnante.

For the flight back home, Carl talked the airline desk agent into letting us check a giant cooler of antelope meat for free.

Building relationships in the outdoors was the epicenter of Carl’s life and it’s why many people are deeply grieving his loss. Humans are a group hunter and male relationships are forged deeply through experiences in the outdoors like hunting and fishing.

I’m certain the same bond is true for the PJ brothers he served alongside in training and deployments.

Angela, we are all grateful you let us borrow Carl for these adventures. They added great value to all our lives.

I took the photo below of Carl on that Wyoming trip early one morning. No filter added.

In Carl’s life, days like this were common because he never wasted time doing things not required by duty or driven by passion. In that way, Carl’s life is an example on how to make the most out of our time.

Carl, you did your duty and lived in accordance with your sworn creed “…that others may live.” I’m proud to have known you. Enjoy the high country my friend.

Joe Clements is co-founder of Tallahassee based Strategic Digital Services, husband of Sara Clements and damn glad he took that hunting trip last October.

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