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Carl Wolfe’s legacy of improving health of our waterways can live on through us

If you knew Carl Wolfe, chances are you only knew of him since 2005, when he and his beloved, Iva, came to Mountain City to retire.  You may have been privileged to walk beside him in the Cherokee Forest, as he was an avid outdoorsman.  You may have cleaned the roadways and Fall Branch Falls with him, which he did nearly every week. In the short time he lived in Johnson County, his relentless momentum to improve the health of our waterways won him many friends, and a few enemies.  He once told me of coming across some “lowlifes” at his creek who were burning insulation off some wire for the copper.  Thinking they had the advantage over an old man, the younger men soon found themselves waiting for the sheriff while Carl and his trusty Beretta .40 kept them company.
Carl loved to volunteer to help people, especially children, as long as the work put him outside.   Genuinely humble, he never bragged about his accomplishments which included getting the recycling program fired up in the county and leading the “Fishing for Kids” program, a popular community activity sponsored by the Water Sentinels.  In spite of his quiet demeanor, Carl’s good works reached the office of Governor Bredesen, who , in 2008, presented him an award for his outstanding work as a volunteer. He lived a life of personal responsibility, was a man of faith and a champion of the second amendment.  For those of us who are trying to carve out a meaningful life of service, Carl will always be an inspiration.
If your path never crossed Carl’s, I have a suggestion:  on 421S, a “Stop Litter” billboard was erected to spread the message about the horrors of water pollution.  Go ahead and glance up at Carl, photographed working with his granddaughter Mariah, doing what he loved to do.  In that 1/60 of a second it took to capture that image, you can know Carl enough, I hope, to be inspired to follow in his footsteps.