HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah — Many people are now finding new family through the popular trend of using DNA kits, but sometimes new connections coincidentally happen at family events and give meaning to the expression, “It’s a small world.”
That’s how it happened for Lt. Col. Seana Jones who discovered she had a cousin, Staff Sgt. Nicholas Wise, who also happened to be stationed with her at Hill Air Force Base.
Jones grew up in Florida whereas Wise grew up in Ohio. Wise is the grandchild of one of Jones’ father’s siblings.
With such a large family separated by several states, it is understandable to not have met some distant relatives.
When Jones’ mother died last year, she was attending the memorial service in Ohio when she reunited with her first cousin, April, who is Wise’s mother and discovered the new connection.
“What a surreal experience it was to travel to Ohio to be by my mother’s bedside for her passing, attend her memorial, and then to find out I had a cousin I had never met serving beside me at Hill,” said Jones.
Jones is a senior air battle manager with the 84th Radar Evaluation Squadron and has been stationed at Hill since 2013. Wise works as an F-35 integrated avionics instructor with the 372nd Training Squadron and has been at Hill since 2015.
“Seana contacted me via the global and mentioned how crazy it was that two relatives were here in northern Utah and never even knew,” Wise said. “We emailed back and forth learning of each other’s lives, such as our spouses, children, where we live.”
The two eventually coordinated their schedules and met up for lunch to learn more about each other and their respective sides of their families.
“I was really eager to meet my cousin,” said Jones. “I thought this was the strangest coincidence to have never met, but yet have been so close for years.”
Wise added, “It was pretty cool to listen to her talk about my mom and listen to her talk about family members that I had never known of. It was well worth it, connecting with her was so cool.”
Since they are cousins once removed, they didn’t really see any physical resemblances between them. They both say, however, that both choosing the Air Force shows their familial connection.
“While family is important to us, we are also fine being on our own and ready to venture out. No wonder we both found a great fit in the military way of life and both in aviation in some form or fashion,” said Jones.
Jones has orders to the Pentagon and will be leaving this summer, while Wise is set to stay at Hill until 2020. But they do have plans to keep in touch.
“Luckily in this day and age, social media is a wondrous thing to help family stay in touch while they are miles away,” said Wise.
“Remembering fondly on my time at Hill, I will remember meeting my cousin Nick. It’s an incredible story for me. Nick and I will continue to keep in touch. Because now we know about each other,” said Jones.