Daniel J. Enea in front of his business, Mohawk Valley Funerals and Cremations.

Photos & Story by Dave Warner

On any given day, ask Little Falls native Daniel J. Enea what he has going on, and you may get a long list of tasks. His day job has him running Mohawk Valley Funerals and Cremations – a business he felt needed to be different to meet today’s customer needs.

“Funerals just don’t have to cost too much. You can offer a nice service, at a fair price and the families are happy. That was my idea, just give people an option,” said Enea.

Enea was born and raised in Little Falls and he says he’s really proud of what is going on now. Enea stated “It’s really on the upswing – a lot of things are changing. I think it’s a great thing for the residents here.”

Three to four years ago, it felt like something happened. “You’ve got to give credit to the administration, but I think the input of some of the young people moving here may have helped as well,” said Enea.

Enea tried another area of the country, moving to Florida, but missed his hometown. Enea said “I spent two years there and didn’t like it, so I moved back and opened up my own place. The people in Little Falls and the surrounding area have been great to me.”

Enea has a belief that if he wants the community to support him, then he has to be highly involved in activities that support that community. Whether it’s the Rotary Club, sitting on a couple of different boards, going to meetings, or just being active, “I love being around people, especially here in the valley. Everybody’s a family member. You see someone in the grocery store and you can actually say hello,” says Enea. “It’s a great feeling and I’m glad to call it home.”

Enea just completed a successful 5th annual area Veterans picnic in Frankfort and explained “one day I was just laying in bed and thought – you know what, I feel that the veterans and our first responders locally don’t receive enough recognition. Many of them tell me they don’t need it, but I felt that we needed a laid-back opportunity where you could come, eat and just say thanks and enjoy each others camaraderie.”

The latest area Veteran’s gathering had over 350 people attend. Local businesses and organizations all contributed food and supplies to make the event happen and to keep it free. The chicken BBQ was from Nick Licari and the Big M Supermarket. Enea said “he donated all the chicken for the event.”

Just recently, Enea took in two foreign exchange students, who are attending Little Falls High School. “I am a proud dad to two foreign exchange students who are in their senior year,” said Enea.

The idea came out of Rotary, where Enea had seen the exchange students come through their programs. He took a trip to Italy in March and thought about it while there. “Our local Rotary was unable to host a student here, so I went through a different organization which was able to send a student,” said Enea.

While talking to them, they mentioned that he should take another so that the one student wouldn’t get bored and would have an instant friend. They told Enea “You’re a single guy and you live alone, so if he gets bored, he’ll have a friend to hang out with and a brother.”

Enea said “It was the best recommendation I had. The guys are great and they’ve already formed a brotherhood and they’re having a great time. I was nervous about a small town, but they absolutely love it. Both students are from big cities, but they are enjoying the more laid-back atmosphere in Little Falls.”

Enea graduated in 1998 and a few weeks ago he was up at the school registering them for classes and it brought back some memories. “Walking through those halls – it was great and bringing them to school every day – it’s great to be back there. Just seeing those guys go through the different steps to get their diploma, which is the ultimate outcome, and then go back to their country, is something else,” stated Enea.

A lot of the teachers were friends who had gone to school with Enea. “It’s kind of cool and a little strange because I don’t have any children and they do and I’m like I better get moving. It was a big step for me, but a good one and a great responsibility for me to experience.”

Enea said “They’re finding it very easy to make new friends in Little Falls. The community has been great to them – teachers, the staff and the students.”

“They’re involved in cross country, but I’ve been taking them out to have different experiences. Last week I took them out to Chinese Buffet and they could not even move out of the restaurant they were so full. That was their first time with that kind of experience,” Enea said.

Enea is now involved and on the board with a group out of Utica called Joseph’s Experience. It’s a group of individuals that gets together once a month to put on different events for kids with cancer. “We focus on kids that are 18 and younger,” says Enea. “There are a few older people, but they fall mostly into that group.”

The group raises money for these events and makes sure that the children are paired with someone to call if they need to. “We want them to be active and have access to some funds,” says Enea. “It’s a great organization and not many people know about it, but it is starting to grow. They are looking for people to help them expand.”

If you want to find out more about what Dan Enea is up to, you can call him at 315-508-5250 or visit his website at https://www.mohawkvalleyfunerals.com/