Sailor's wife hears service call
- February 19, 2016
- / Landon Stinson from Pnj.com
- / Post Tags
Young lovers have graced history with their shared service to America from George and Martha Washington to Chris and Taya Kyle.
Pensacola Naval Air Station is home to one of these shared hearts and it beats within United States Navy Hospital Corpsman Bryan and his wife, Jennifer Coble. Jennifer has been honored with the Military Spouse of the Year award for her efforts in caring for the homeless and helping veterans cope with Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome.
Jennifer Hartman was born to Ronald and Marsha Hartman on May 5, 1981, on an Air Force base in Madrid, Spain. Her father served in the United States Air Force, as did both of her grandfathers. Jennifer’s mother worked as an animal tech tending to chimpanzees. Jennifer eventually moved to Seattle, Washington where she first locked eyes with Bryan Coble at a bowling alley. Bryan was then working as a mechanic at the local Jiffy Lube. Bryan Coble was apparently quite the bowler because the two had their first date at Pike’s Place Market soon after.
Bryan and Jennifer Coble were married on June 19, 2004, at Flag Park in Washington. The Cobles moved from Seattle to Arizona so Bryan could take over his father’s tow truck business, but the truck broke down and he was forced to find work elsewhere. Bryan decided to enlist in the United States Navy as a mechanic in 2009 and is now a certified surgical tech and Hospital Corpsman.
While stationed in Virginia, Jennifer earned her bachelor degree in psychology from the University of Phoenix while Bryan worked on a surgical team. The family was eventually transferred to Pensacola NAS where they currently live.
It wasn’t long before Jennifer started utilizing her genetic call to service and the newfound knowledge of the human brain she attained in Virginia. The great Pensacola flood of 2014 ignited Coble’s philanthropic torch and she lit the way for the soaked homeless with her organization, One Corner at a Time.
"I was very fortunate to have the opportunity to team up with another spouse, Tara, handing out supplies to the homeless in our area. After the floods hit here in Pensacola in April 2014, the amount of individuals losing their homes because they had been deemed "non-livable" really hit home. That is when One Corner at a Time was created as a nonprofit. We prepare survival boxes for the homeless or anyone who needs it. Each box is equipped with enough supplies for one individual to last an entire week,” Coble said.
"Every weekend we also make home-cooked meals and soups to hand out all over our area. We do not hand out the items outside of our windows as we pass by; we stop and make it personal for the recipients.”
When she is not busy with her organization, Coble is working through the night with a 96-year-old retired Army colonel.
"He has really bad PTSD, he was a prisoner of war and he also suffers from dementia. So with both of those, not knowing where he is and having a flashback –– it get’s very difficult and he gets violent.” Coble said.
"What I do is sit there with him, talk with him; I allow him to still have his self, and his pride. I try to let him have his independence –– because he deserves that,” she said.
Although she works nights, Coble still has her children to tend to –– preparing them for school each morning and volunteering in their classrooms when she can. The children’s grandmother, Marsha Hartman, often visits for months at a time to help the family. But there are enemies in Coble’s silent battle for the common good; unfortunately they are too microscopic for the military to defeat. In 2015, Jennifer Coble was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, a syndrome that causes chronic muscle pain, fatigue, sleep problems and tender points throughout the body.
"It makes me exhausted. I’m in constant pain,” Coble said. "I refuse to allow it to drag me down or stop me from doing the things I find important and fulfilling. My family and I are a unit, we never stop working together, supporting each other and serving our country, proudly.”
Despite her illness, Coble plans on pursuing her masters degree in social work with an emphasis on trauma and crisis. She wants to keep helping those with PTSD and continue reaching out to the homeless through her organization, One Corner at a Time.
Since her husband enlisted with the United States Navy in 2009, Jennifer Coble has extended her promise of "in sickness and in health” from her marriage to her country ––– showing us that the silent battles against mental illness and poverty are roaring right here in Pensacola.
"My wife was stitched together through life experiences, she uses those experiences to give back. She was made to take care of people and that’s what One Corner at a Time is all about,” Bryan Coble said. "Can’t save the world in one day, but as she says, she tries to one corner at a time.”