"Take care of yourselves and each other, and always remember my motto:
Itís ok to work hard, as long as you play harder."

-Joe Milligan,
in an email to his parents 7/02

January 14, 2003
7:57 PM

The short time that I knew Joe encompasses what would be a chapter in the book that is my life. There are certain people for which you are destined to meet for reasons unbeknownst to you at the time, but for which will be revealed later in life. Joe has been one of those people for me. I went to Australia on a study abroad trip with two of my best friends, Mindy and Maxine. On the first weekend in our new home, we traveled to Stradbroke Island. That is where we met Joe and Jordan, but the story of how we met is kind of funny. We were out at the bar on the Island and spotted Joe and Jordan, whom we thought were the "hot Aussies" that we had come so far to see! Upon introducing ourselves to these blokes, we discover that they are American, and not only that, but Joe is from Florida, the same state that the three of us hail from! We exchanged contact info and hoped to meet up again sometime in the future. A couple of weeks later, we were visiting them in the Gold Coast! Being the excellent hosts that they were Joe and Jordan took us out to find some waves. Unfortunately on this outing, someone stole the three of our daypacks, containing all that we had. Joe and Jordan were unbelievable. They not only comforted us, but also brought us out to dinner, and later for drinks, and finally paid for our train tickets home. They restored my faith that people are good, and this memory will forever touch my heart. We kept in touch, and when Mindy and I decided to do a surfing documentary for school, we thought what better "star" than Joe. We traveled to the Gold Coast again to get some good insight and footage, and again Joe showed his true colours. He stopped everything he was doing to help make our video the best that it could be. I learned a lot from him about the sport, but also about how important it can be to someone. His enthusiam and dedication has been inspiring. We were so thankful to Joe for all of his help and time, but he was not done giving! When he went on his post-grad trip, he loaned us his car to drive around, and he was going to pick it up on the way back. Unfortunately that day never came. The news from Bali was, as it has been for all of you, very emotional. Not a day goes by that I do not think of Joe. I take comfort in the fact that he is in a better place right now, where he can surf perfect waves all day and never get tired. Surfing was his "way of life" (as he stated when we were filming). It brought him everywhere around the world. He did what he loved, and he followed his dreams. May everyone take his inspiration and follow his/her dreams. I can never be thankful enough that I met him that night in Staddie. His memory will live on in my heart forever.
And the chapter does not end there. Just last week, my best friend in Jacksonville called me with the news that she had met Joe's best friend. He came up when her boyfriend was talking about the surfing documentary. How truly small this world is.

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