Spouse of Navy Lt. Christopher Tyll
East-Coast Based SEAL Team
After spending seven years as a naval officer, Jennifer Tyll decided to leave the Navy so she and her husband, Navy Lt. Christopher Tyll, who she met at the Naval Academy, could spend more time together. Jennifer and Tyll had completed five deployments, but never at the same time. One of them was always coming or going, which made it difficult for them to start a family.
Since she left active duty in June, Jennifer has pursued a career as a senior business analyst with Lockheed Martin Corporation and works part time as a personal trainer. She has also become the ombudsman for her husband’s East Coast-based SEAL Team.
“Being a command ombudsman is a unique challenge,” Jennifer said. “My experience on active duty allows me to understand what they are going through. I know where to go for help with any issue.”
“As the command ombudsman, she has consistently gone the extra mile to ensure the families of my command were educated and prepared for an intense work-up cycle and deployment by our command members,” Tyll said. “Her dedication has helped these families face a four-to-eight month deployment. Whether it is a sick family member or general household stress, Jennifer is quick to visit those who are in the hospital, find the appropriate resource or just listen to them for hours.”
“I met Jennifer while she was volunteering as an ombudsman,” said Brenda, the spouse of another member of an East Coast-based SEAL team. “Her remarkable selflessness became apparent to me during my husband’s last deployment through her concern for my family. She is a remarkable person. I feel privileged to have her in my life.”
Jennifer said she wants the family members to understand she will be there for them no matter what they need.
“I love meeting people,” Jennifer said. “I am very much a people person and love passing along my knowledge and my experiences. I like having the opportunity to help no matter what time of day or what is needed. I am always available, and can break away from what I’m doing if they need my help, even in the middle of the night. That’s what I’m here for.”
Jennifer keeps busy volunteering as a girl’s field hockey and lacrosse coach for Cape Henry Collegiate in Virginia Beach. She was on the Naval Academy’s team with the head coach of the Cape Henry team, who asked her to be the assistant coach there. One of Jennifer’s goals as a coach is to teach the girls leadership skills.
“These high schoolers are our next generation,” Jennifer explained. “I can provide a leadership role. I like being able to influence their viewpoint. It’s important to get them to understand the world is not about money and possessions, but about making a positive impact and contribution in different ways. So I get the girls involved in volunteer activities, promoting the ‘pay it forward’ concept.”
As a personal trainer, Jennifer also volunteers to work with overweight teens.
“It is a tremendous opportunity to be the personal trainer of these teens,” Jennifer said. “They want to make things better for themselves. I want to help change their lifestyle. It’s nice to see progress in their abilities. Seeing little mile stones turn into big mile stones is the most rewarding part.”
Jennifer and her husband have also been involved with activities for the Hope Haven Children’s Home in Virginia Beach.
“Hope Haven provides us with a continual reminder to stay involved in our community, and it’s a great experience,” Jennifer said. “We have worked with the kid’s camp there, and have helped with clothing drives, collected household items for donation and gathered items to put Easter baskets together.”
Despite all of her volunteer efforts, she was shocked to be nominated for the Heroes at Home award.
“I feel lucky to be here,” Jennifer said of the nomination. “I’m lucky to be grouped with these other people, and lucky to call these other people my friends.”