Tina Fornwald

President and CEO

I am a woman on a mission to help and support others navigate through grief.  In March 2017, the man I loved for 32 years died unexpectedly on vacation.  I have learned to live again through the love and support of family, friends, and other widows/widowers, therapy, and my faith.  I am on this grief journey with you in the hope of helping you develop a life you love and not just exist. 

Tina was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois.  After graduating high school, she enlisted in the United States Army and Retired in 2020 as Chief Warrant Officer Two.  While in the army, she pursued higher education, earning a bachelor’s degree in Finance with a minor in Accounting.  Tina was ordained into the ministry in August 2010. 

While in the army, she met her late husband, Mark W. Fornwald. Tina and Mark married and had two adult children, Catherine and Alexander.  Their children were and are the heartbeats of their cherished 32 years together.

In 2015, Tina was diagnosed with breast cancer.  With the love of Mark, her children, family, friends, and faith, Tina survived several operations and cancer treatments.   Then, in 2017, Mark and Tina were enjoying a weekend in Delaware when Mark had a massive heart attack and died.  The life Tina had come to love was suddenly turned upside down.  She sought solace in God to figure out life without Mark in the following days, months, and years.

Tina began connecting with other widows and widowers to grasp insight and understanding of this challenging journey, which became instrumental to her well-being.  Over the years, Tina became the person other widows and widowers sought out on how to navigate their grief.  

Tina is the Founder of “Widowhood, Real Talk With Tina,” a registered 501c3 with a mission To create a safe space for candid discussions on the journey of grief while connecting the widowhood community with an extensive range of professionals, materials and support groups to foster encouragement, healing, and hope not just to live but create a life where they thrive.

As Tina learned to find her way in life, love found her again in Fred M. Jackson, whom she wed in February of 2022.

Catherine R. A. Fornwald

General Board Member

In the autumn of 1995, Catherine Fornwald was born to Mark and Tina Fornwald. She grew up an energetic child with an interest in science and art.

She is often surrounded by bugs and wildlife, learning their names and habits with her father. The outdoors was no stranger to her, as she learned hunting and fishing from her father, going on frequent turkey and deer hunts.

As she got older, her interest in art grew, becoming an avid writer of poetry; she is currently working on her first poetry book.

Now at 27 years old, she lives in San Diego, California, and currently works at ROCHE /GenMark Diagnostics as a maintenance technician, assuring functionality of the assembly robots on the manufacturing lines.

Some of her special interests are traveling and learning new languages.

Chris Wissmann

General Board Member

My name is Chris Wissmann.  I am a 62 yo woman, wife, mother, Nana-to-be, daughter, sister and friend.  We have four grown children, a daughter-in-law, and a therapy dog, Lambeau.  My favorite activities include spending time with my family, burying my feet in the sand while absorbing the majesty of the ocean’s sounds, sights, and smells, time spent with friends, walks in the woods, yummy ice cream, and colorful sunsets.

I have a degree in Early Childhood Education and, combined with my “Mom degree (experience),” was able to call myself an Independence Facilitator and serve older adults for several years.  I have had the joy of walking with the young and the elderly, and I value the gifts of wonder and wisdom they can share.

As I age, I realize life is filled with loss, and our grief journey is never over.  Grief and loss happen to everyone to varying degrees.  I lost a childhood friend, all my Grandparents, my father-in-law, and now my family of origin is also gone.  The journey never ends but changes, and I can grow and change as my new normal settles over me…change is constant.  May we find the strength to celebrate the good it brings and treasure the love and lessons that are lasting through our loss. 

Jennifer Marriner

General Board Member

Hi, my name is Jennifer Marriner – I was born and raised in California, the youngest of three children and two older brothers.  I moved to Oregon in the early 80s to start my college career.  I met my (ex-) husband while in college, got married, and we had twin girls.  They are grown and gone (G&G).  After my divorce, my girls and I moved to Pennsylvania, where my parents had relocated in 1983.

I re-entered college and graduated from Temple University with a BS in Kinesiology, emphasizing Athletic Training.  I was, and still am, a sports nut!  I worked in physical therapy and High School and College sports for 15 years – before moving to the Federal Government.

After 31 years in PA – I took a job with the United States Air Force and moved South; I now live in Georgia.  I am now a Grandmother to two Redheaded young boys (5&3).  I love it!  I love to Hike and gather with friends; I am learning to play Pickleball (I just graduated from Pickleball 101 last night).

I love to travel and am restoring a 1963 Shasta compact camper to share my adventures with my grandsons.

Jennifer Pilant

General Board Member

Ms. Jennifer L. Pilant assumed her current position as NETCOM-Europe Data Center and Services Division Chief in August of 2022, after being promoted from the Services Lead / Chief, which started in April of 2022.  Before joining the NETCOM-Europe team, Ms. Pilant was an Army Civilian at Tobyhanna Army Depot for 13 years.

Ms. Pilant is a native of Woodbury, NJ, and after two years at Rutgers University, NJ, she enlisted in the USAF in 1994, at the same time as her husband, Mr. Paul K. Pilant.  

Ms. Pilant began her short five-year USAF career as a personnel specialist at Spangdahlem Air Force Base, Germany, and separated from the USAF at McChord AFB, Washington, in 1998.  After her husband’s USAF career took the family to Ellsworth AFB, South Dakota, Ms. Pilant began her eight-year career as a librarian, with positions in both on-base and public libraries, and eventually, her husband separated from the USAF in Delaware.  For four years, as their Technical Services Director, Ms. Pilant managed all aspects of technical services for the Milford Public Library, Delaware.  In this position, she held a key position among the 23 other Library Technical Managers throughout Delaware when instituting a State-Wide Network Database.  This collaboration was the first in Delaware and linked all libraries under one consortium.  

In 2008, Ms. Pilant started her Army Civilian Service career as the Technical Librarian at Tobyhanna Army Depot, where she led a team as the first official Librarian at the depot.  While under her leadership, Ms. Pilant brought the antiquated paper library to a fully digital library by focusing on continuous process improvements, and by doing so, Tobyhanna Army Depot was the first Technical Library to be awarded the AMC Library Consortium Network – Federal Library Directory – Library of Congress official status due to the process improvements implemented and sustained.  

Ms. Pilant’s Army Civilian Supervisory career path started as the Chief of the Integration & Remanufacturing Project Management Branch.  At the same time, dual hatting as the Chief of the Mobile Maintenance Branch, and both had her leading a team that performed project management activities for 40+ programs totaling over $100M throughout their project lifecycles for seven years before taking another career path into supervisory information technology.  For three years before joining NETCOM Europe, Ms. Pilant led a team of information technology specialists, IT project managers, contract officer representatives, IT application software developers, programmers, and management analysts as she served as the Chief of the Business Architecture Design Branch.  

Ms. Pilant’s awards and decorations include the Air Force Achievement Medal, Air Force Commendation Medal, Air Force Longevity Service Award, Air Force Training Ribbon, Air Force Overseas Long Tour Ribbon, National Defense Service Medal, Air Force Outstanding Unit Award, Air Force Good Conduct Medal, several Certificates of Appreciation by TYAD Commanders, Special Act Awards, Team Work Awards, several Certificates of Lean Accomplishments, the distinguished Department of the Army Superior Civilian Service Award, and the Team C5ISR Ten Outstanding Personnel of the Year 2011.

Ms. Pilant holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and Management from the University of Maryland and a Master of Science in Library and Information Science from Drexel University.  Ms. Pilant is a certified Project Management Professional from the Project Management Institute, certified CompTIA Security Plus, and certified Lean Six Sigma Green Belt.

Ms. Pilant and her husband, Paul, have one son, Conor.

Ulanaka L. Beckom

Treasurer

 “Just Living it Up and Loving it All” has been my life’s mantra.  Life throws a lot at you, and being able to continue the game can be challenging.  Let’s lean on each other to keep living as best we can.  A retired USN Senior Chief Ulanka has counseled various Sailors.  As Casualty Assistance Calls Officer (CACO) in the USN, Ulanka assisted families with processing their loved one’s final wishes when they passed away on active duty.