CLINT AARON MILLER 03.08.1971 - 12.11.11
THIS BLOG is about a co-worker and friend, and how some people continue to be a presence even after they are gone.
I'm writing about Clint Miller, a longtime employee and social networking wizard here at Real Estate Pipeline. Many of you followed Clint's blog on Active Rain, others knew him from his posts on Twitter and Facebook. Hundreds of you followed his fight with cancer, and offered support, on a Facebook prayer board.
Despite prayers, hopes and well wishes, numerous surgeries and chemotherapy and everyone doing everything they could, Clint died Dec. 11 at the age of 40. He left behind a wife and five children, including two ages seven and four.
"Life truly is short and I guess Clint proved that," said Pipeline co-owner Jerrold Baxter. "But he did a lot in his life - for a lot of people."
At the office he offered the encouragement that helped co-workers like Adam Chesterfield succeed. On-line, he offered the humor and enthusiasm that helped clients and friends like real estate agent Audrey Forshey laugh.
He was a cheerleader and among those who knew him, the silence left with his passing is nearly deafening.
"It just makes me so angry he's not here," said Forshey. Forshey is a real estate agent in Maryland. "It makes me angry I can't have my morning coffee and conversation with Clint on Twitter. We'd chat, laugh, all of that stuff."
HERE AT THE PIPELINE, it makes us angry too. We also miss the laughter that seemed to follow him like a shadow. We miss the pranks and mischief. The office has changed.
More than two months have passed since Clint's death and we have spent that time moving forward. But we have done so with some reluctance. It seems that when someone close is lost, the world should pause for a moment. But it does not.
The potpourri of toys, souvenirs and techno-gadgets once littering Clint's desk have been boxed up, another sales person has moved into his space. The changes didn't come right away or without reluctance.
For the better part of a year while he was sick, Clint remained on the Pipeline's payroll and his possessions remained on his desk - although Clint was no longer sitting at it.
"We just kept waiting for him to get better, to come back," Baxter said.
During the months of treatment, Clint, for the most part, remained absent from the sales floor but tried to remain active on the social networking sites. When he became too sick to post on the prayer board, his wife Angela began doing it for him.
For about two months, Angela used the prayer board as a way to keep others informed of Clint's condition. Then, as it was approaching midnight on Dec. 11, 2011, about 30 minutes after his death, Angela posted on the board that Clint had died. Two days later, on what would have been their ninth anniversary, she wrote his obituary.
THOSE WHO HAVE WORKED here since the beginning remember before Clint was sitting at his desk. They remember when he built it.
"He literally helped build this company," said co-owner Adam Covert. "Right down to putting the desks together." That was in 2004.
In 2005, Clint first went to Baxter with the idea of using Twitter and other social media outlets as a way to promote the company, create contacts and make sales. Then, Clint already was busy with on-line socializing. When he turned his eye to using social media to market his product, it took right off.
"He developed quite the empire," Baxter said. That year he became the company's top sales executive.
Clint approached potential clients with the same enthusiasm he brought onto the office. But before Clint would get around to pitching the product, stories would be told or recipes shared. There would be laughter and conversation.
"He always seemed to connect with people first," Baxter said. "He really was very good at that. He had a personality that was hard not to like."
Here at the Pipeline, Clint did more than blog and make sales. He crafted a booklet still distributed to new clients called the "Learn and Earn" that is intended to help agents become more successful working Internet leads.
Just as he offered encouragement to agents, he did the same for co-workers. "Clint always had a friendly word," Chesterfield said. Not too much advice, he didn't give lots of "Here's how I do it" suggestions. But, Chesterfield said, "When it started coming together for me, Clint always was the first one there with encouragement."
When asked who may replace him, Chesterfield wasn't so sure anyone would. "That remains to be seen. He was kind of irreplaceable."
Yes he was, agreed Forshey. She knew Clint for years on-line before becoming his customer. "He was very good at striking up relationships with people, at engaging people."
And, she added, he was brutally honest. "He was very open about himself, his mistakes and his challenges." Clint lost his first wife to cancer, fought a battle with alcohol and struggled with obesity. "He was very real."
Real is how he will remain. Posters have made their way onto the walls here at the Pipeline, serving to remind us when we forget and to encourage us when we need some. Forshey and others continue to wear the wristbands. More than 900 people remain members of the prayer board.
FOR CLINT, the prayer board was never just about being a source of support for himself, although he always acknowledged and appreciated it. Clint quickly hijacked the board to turn it into a cancer awareness board.
It seems Clint wanted two things:
- He wanted to beat his cancer and keep on living and loving.
- And he wanted to help others avoid what he was going through. His wasn't the only life he tried to save.
"This was preventable," Angela said. "Almost all Stage 1 cases (of testicular cancer) are cured." Clint was diagnosed with Stage 3C cancer. "He was adamant, and for good reason, to increase awareness of the disease."
The Clint Miller Prayer/Support Board is at https://www.facebook.com/#!/groups/173126609400592/.
Here at the Pipeline, we hope others heed Clint and Angela's warnings. This sort of blog already is far too commonplace - especially since many of them can be avoided. We'll leave you with something Clint always loved: a good recipe. This is one of his, presented to you just as it was given to us.
Clint's Verri Yukki Marinade
Depending on how much meat you are going to marinade - you can easily double this for coverage. Excellent on pork, chicken or fish - not the best on red meat.
1 cup soy sauce (DO NOT use the low salt kind), 1 cup warm water, 1/2 cup honey, 1/4 cup sugar, 1/2 cup brown sugar (firmly packed), 2 tsp ground ginger (I always go heavy on the ginger - I use three), 2 tsp garlic powder (same as above here), a couple cloves of chopped garlic.
Mix in a large bowl or a gallons sized plastic bag. Add meat and let sit for at least 4 hours. Prepare meat as you normally would - pan-seared, grilled, baked, etc. Baste with left-over marinade as you cook.
Take left over marinade and pour it into a sauce pan and bring to a boil. Add corn starch and continue to thicken to make a dipping sauce or a topping for rice. (Be very careful with this - the amount of sugar in this stuff, you will either scald the sh** out of it or turn it into verri yukki caramel in a matter of only a couple minutes. Stir constantly!!)
Clint Miller, Internet Marketing Manager