Silent Strength: The Power Of Friendship With Jennifer Pilant

WRT 9 | Friendship

  Jennifer Pilant and Tina Fornwal have been close friends since 2009, and their bond has only grown stronger over the years. In this episode, Jennifer, who is the Supervisor of IT Specialists, showcases the power of friendship through widowhood by demonstrating her unwavering support for Tina after the loss of her husband Mark. Alongside her partner Paul, Jennifer dropped everything to be there for Tina during this difficult time, displaying her own silent strength and emotional depth. Tune in to this inspiring episode to witness the depth and resilience of friendship in the face of adversity. — Watch the episode here   Listen to the podcast here   Silent Strength: The Power Of Friendship With Jennifer Pilant Friends Who Were There Our conversation in this episode is with my friend Jennifer Pilant. She took me back to some places that I forgot and didn’t even realize. I appreciate Jennifer being able to come to this conversation and share her heart. She has some good nuggets. She would call herself one of my quiet friends, but once I got her to talk, you can see the richness and the wealth that she brings to our relationship. Let’s get into the conversation.     In this episode, my guest is all the way from the other side of the world is my girlfriend, Jennifer Pilant. Welcome, Jennifer. Where are you right now? I’m in a city called Wiesbaden, Germany. I work at Wiesbaden Army called Clay Kaserne for the Department of the Army. Tell us a little bit about yourself. Share with our guests and friends that are here who is Jennifer Pilant. Jennifer Pilant is a Supervisor of IT Specialists. I work here for the Department of the Army and for NETCOM-Europe. I’m here in Wiesbaden with my son Connor who came over with me. My husband is still in the States, but we’re hoping he joins us soon with a job over here. Before that, I worked for Tobyhanna Army Depot, which in 2012 is where I met Tina. We both started working together on the same day in October 2012. I had the privilege of going through new employee orientation. She was my battle buddy during that. We sat literally next to each other. I’ve been married to my husband, Paul, for many years. We’re going on 29 years on Valentine’s Day this 2023. When you told me that, I was like, “That means double gifts, right? That doesn’t mean you get cheated on Valentine’s and your anniversary.” I guess because he got away with only giving one gift for our anniversary and Valentine’s into one. How did you and Paul meet? I took a hiatus from college and so did he. We both had gone two years. He did school in San Jose California. I was at Rutgers for two years and then we took a financial break from school as we were paying for it ourselves and started working. I had a summer job at a Nine West Distribution Center in New Jersey. He had come back with his parents that retired from the Air Force at that point and they settled back in New Jersey too. We both started working there. We did it before we got married. You talked about Paul’s parents being in the Air Force. How has that impacted anything that happened in your life with you and Paul as far as a military career or serving in the military? It impacted it. As I said, financially we couldn’t afford to support ourselves through college and work full-time and all that. At that point, neither one of us had considered the Air Force. We sat down and started talking to his dad about what he did when he was in the Air Force, the benefits of getting tuition paid for, seeing the world, and getting out of New Jersey. Both were not very happy. From his experiences and guidance, I was like, “Not just Paul joining the Air Force but myself also.” It was a good deal for both of us and it sounded exciting to me as I grew up in a pretty disciplined household thinking about basic training and all that’s involved. As scary as maybe some other people, we both decided, “If we’re going to do this, let’s get married first.” We did that. We got married on Valentine’s Day in 1994 and two weeks later after our honeymoon, I got shipped off to basic training. They called me. They said, “We got an earlier spot than what Paul’s was. We had an opening.” I was like, “I can do this.” I got shipped off the basic training and then probably a month and a half later, Paul got shipped to basic training. What was basic training like in the Air Force? I was in the Army. I’m curious about what that looks like. I want to know. The first day, you remember getting there, the initial part, the shocker, or what do you recall from boot camp? The time from getting off the bus, getting yelled at, and being told what to do and where to stand. From that time on, it was probably a shock to the system, but not a terrible thing. It’s a day of being shocked and then at that point, it was like, “All I do is follow the rules and what they tell me to do.” I already knew from Paul’s dad. The biggest thing I always joke about is, “You have to do what they say and follow orders. Be smart enough to learn what you’re supposed to learn and the way you’re supposed to learn it. They can yell at you all the way up in your face.” Screaming and yelling are there. They’re screaming and spitting in your face but at least, in the Air Force, they can’t hit you. For all this time growing up, you’re getting disciplined, and the discipline I went through it was, “I …

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