JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A Jacksonville military veteran is now on the frontline of identity theft, literally destroying any possibility that your personal information can be stolen from your old devices, computers or other electronics, and he does it free of charge.
"Bad guys are more technologically inclined to do bad things, and they're looking to do bad things, so I want to stop that," said Aaron Enos, Navy veteran and founder of Sensible Recycling.
Enos grew up by the water in St. Johns County, but learned all about classified information -- and protecting it -- while serving more than 10 years in the Navy.
"I went in as Air Crew," said Enos. "I worked on avionics such as radars, radios, navigational equipment."
The Petty Officer Second Class deployed around the world, learning the ins and outs of electronics, but also the importance of protecting sensitive information.
With what the military taught Enos, he took college classes and learned the scrap metal business. He then had all the skills needed to open Sensible Recycling and help protect the Jacksonville community.
"Instead of fixing things like it was in the military, I was really drawn to breaking things, like in the recycling world," Enos explained.
WATCH: Computer breakdown process
His battleground started a year ago in a 6x12 trailer. Once he filled that up, he got a storage space. Once he filled that up, he moved into a warehouse on the Southside, that's about 6,000 square feet and filling up.
"You can look at the shelves, we've got reel to reel, tape players," Enos showed us. "These are all obsolete, broken items that you know, people need to get rid of."
Destruction of personal information
Enos has is a way to make sure anything with personal information can never be used by a criminal.
"It's a very destructive process," he demonstrated for News4Jax.
Enos puts anything that stores data into a metal-eating machine with nine hammers and powered by a 10-horsepower diesel.
"It's a hammer mill, so it beats them down to a size to fit through the screen at the bottom. That's how this shredding process goes. It's very, very destructive and not only is it good for hard drives, it's also good for solid state media because it is such a violent process," Enos explained.
Piece by piece, item by item, everything that has any personal data is violently destroyed and turned into metal scraps that can never be accessed by crooks, but can certainly be recycled.
"I want to bring the trust of who I am as a vet, and my background, and bring that to people with a service that they can trust," Enos said.
WATCH: Destroying the data
Anyone with concerns about handing over and leaving their electronics or equipment that has personal data is invited to be there and watch it be turned into shreds.
To help him serve and protect everyone in the community -- from big corporations to small businesses to individuals -- Enos has hired fellow military veteran, retired Air Force Master Sergeant Joe Rodgers.
"That can be reused, and this can be reused," Rodgers explained to us as he dismantled old electronics to be recycled. "There's no data on there though, that's why those are safe."
Rodgers says he was excited to join Enos at Sensible Recycling, and he brings 26 years of military experience working with security, electronics, air traffic control and landing systems with him.
"It's a way to pay back for what the community has done for us," said Rodgers. "They were always there for me when I was in the military, and it's nice to bring those skills and pay back."
"That's my mission, I think, with Sensible Recycling: to do good for the environment, do good for the community, and do good for the guys that have done good for the country," Enos added.
So far in 2017, Enos says his company has destroyed and recycled about 50,000 pounds of electronics, keeping everything that contained personal data protected and out of local landfills. It's something that's good for the environment and a layer of protection for you.
This is how Sensible Recycling makes its money. Each item has its own metal recovery value, and that metal is sold to be reused.
Data destruction verification
Many businesses and medical facilities are required to have proof that customer or patient data has been properly destroyed.
Enos tells us he offers that documented proof, also as a free service.
"I've had HIPPA compliance training so I am HIPPA compliant in everything that i do," explained Enos. "I do a serialized certificate of destruction, so when I remove the hard drive, I scan the serial number into a spreadsheet. I also scan the asset that it came from so I get the serial number from the computer or whatever asset that they give me."
Enos can also provide video documentation of the process. He holds the hard drive up to the camera before it goes into the machine.
"They can see the serial number of the drive and coincide that with the serial number that's on the certificate of destruction, and they can watch me drop the drive into the machine and watch it come out of the bottom in little tiny pieces," Enos explained.
While Sensible Recycling can take just about anything electronic, if you have an old-school tube television, that's one item that cannot be recycled.
Enos says CRT monitors are a big environmental problem. He has a few in his warehouse, but that's because he rescued them after people threw them away in their regular trash. He didn't want them to end up in the landfill and danger the environment.
If you have one, Enos suggests you contact your county to find out about programs available for proper disposal, because that's the one electronic his company can't take.
Helping the veteran community
Advocates say by choosing a veteran-owned business, like Sensible Recycling, it benefits the entire veteran community.
"Veteran-owned businesses tend to hire veterans and give to veteran charities, so when you use a veteran-owned business, you make a ripple effect in the veteran community. You are helping a veteran pay the mortgage, you're getting a veteran a job, and you're helping a veteran in need," explained Marine Corps veteran Will Amos, co-founder of VeteransList.US, a nationwide database of veteran-owned businesses.
Aaron Enos agrees with Amos, and explained to News4Jax why he felt it was important to hire fellow veteran Joe Rodgers at Sensible Recycling.
"There are different challenges for veterans," said Enos. "Businesses that are veteran owned understand other veterans have a lot of potential, a lot to offer the company, and they can utilize their skills."
"It's comforting," said Rodgers about working for Enos. "It's nice to know he's got your back and I've got his, just like it was in the military."
Sensible Recycling is just one of many local businesses currently listed in the VeteransList.US database. Amos and his business partner created the database to make it easier for people to find veteran-owned businesses where they live, and make a meaningful impact for fellow veterans across the country.
"In order to better support the veteran business community, a centralized location where veteran-owned businesses can be found is necessary," said Amos. "This allows people to quickly find a business that suits their needs without searching the internet and hoping the business identifies themselves as veteran owned."
VeteransList.US is free to search by product, place or ZIP code.
For veteran owners wanting to be included in the database, they can sign up through the website as well. Amos says, to help these businesses be as successful as possible, VeteransList.US will post information and photos for each listing.
Depending on the needs of the business owner, Amos and his company can also offer assistance in making a veteran's business operations easier, provide access to online courses to learn new skills, give businesses exposure in email newsletters, and pass along veteran-specific discounts to help businesses save time and money. Veterans can learn more here.
Copyright 2017 by WJXT News4Jax - All rights reserved.