"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

Luke Wientzen
March 24, 2004
9:56 PM

I met Joe in Charleston in the fall of 2000, mabey 2001 (t seems like a long time ago now) through Andy Smythe and Dave Foley, whom i was working with at McCrady's. I'd heard his name a handful of times before from different groups of people at cofc, all kind of tying into one another in some way. even before meeting him, i knew him to be well liked guy by everybody who ever spoke of him.
It must have been in 2000 because he was back from Australia and in our first conversation he told me how much he loved it there and that he was going back. That was at Meritage. I distinctly remember standing at the bar waiting to order a drink, standing next to him unknowingly. Foley said hey to him, and i instantly knew who he was. I introduced myself, told him i'd heard alot about him, we spoke for probably ten or twelve minutes. I knew alot of his friends and that was the basis of the conversation. but it wasn't one of those simple, bogus "nice to meet you" bar-type conversations. he sat down, asked me to sit, and we had a beer and a shot and rapped about things. i remember that it struck me as very sincere.
I ended up running into him alot that fall, usually at bars, sometimes at somebody's house. I really remember hanging out with Joe and Andy Smythe at Andy's house one night. Each time i'd see him it was like seeing someone i was already friends with- smiles, handshakes, very genuine and comfortable. we'd have alot to talk about each time--predominantly girls and surfing --and there was always a lot said.
What stayed with me about joe was that he was the kind of person who's positivity was internal and external; he always seemed to have a certain light to him, a quality of brightness that you really don't find in most people, especially college kids out at bars trying to be the man to impress some chick that night.
Joe was somebody who i just barely knew but felt comfortable and easy around, every time i saw him.
I didn't write anything on this site for a long time because i didn't feel that it was my place to; i wasn't one of his closest friends, or even somebody who was necessarily in his group or clique. I remember seeing Jon Puckett after it happened and speaking with him about it, briefly. Taylor Hammond, Kyle Lourie, Ricky Vimmerstadt too. I always felt like i was walking on broken glass when i asked anybody about it because i didn't know how to express my condolences most appropriatly; i never felt that i could find the right words to convey how highly i thought of joe, how sorry i was that he was gone, and how sorry i was for those who were close to him to have lost a friend who was so unique, bright and special and rare.
I live in San Diego now. I teach high school here and surf everyday. The best part about teaching is june july and august--which has turned into a time traveling for culture, waves, something different for me since leaving charleston three years ago. I've been looking into indo for a while now, this summer it's probably going to happen. I read articles all the time, on the internet, in magazines, that refer to the Bali bombing that Joe was a victim of. I read every single one to a tee in the hopes that someone has written something about joe, some reference to him, some sort memory, anything. I wanted to put it out there that i considered joe a friend, and someone that i won't forget.
Luke Wientzen

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