By Sue-Ellen Sanders
They are the power couple of the future and the young adults we want our children to grow up to be.
At 31, he is the owner of Trefelner Technologies, a tech-advising company, and the newly-installed president of the Fort Pierce Rotary Club.
At 25, she is the alumni and development director of John Carroll High School, the school they both attended.
But, when Jennifer Melville Trefelner and Joey Trefelner were growing up on the Treasure Coast, they never dreamed they would end up together.
To Joey, Jen was just the pipsqueak little sister of his fishing buddy, Erik. And although she had a little crush on him when she was in high school, the six years difference in their ages kept him from looking twice at her.
Joey's nickname was "Tree," both an abbreviation of his last name and a reference to his 6-foot-6-inch height. Jen was in awe of "Tree," but like the rest of the world, she looked up to him from afar.
Besides, Joey ( also known as Timothy Joseph Trefelner Jr.), was the eldest son of parents who are both third generation families on the Treasure Coast, and when he left Fort Pierce for Florida State University, he never planned to come back home.
After college, he moved to North Carolina and then South Carolina, working in the MIS industry for large companies.
Jennifer Melville was home from college for Thanksgiving, visiting her folks, when she ran into the familiar big guy. Joey Trefelner was surprised to find his buddy's little sister had grown up into a lovely, young coed. He was in town interviewing for a job with the county's MIS department, having discovered that there really was "no place like home."
Jen was so impressed that she went back to college telling her Auburn University sorority sisters, "I'm going to marry a man just like that Joey."
Less than a month later, when Jen was back in town for Christmas break, she and her brother ran into his old friend out on the town. The two of them (some days, it's still the three of them) have been together ever since. Jen married Joey after her graduation from Auburn the following year.
I met Joey when his future father-in-law, prominent local attorney Hal Melville, brought him proudly to Rotary and recommended him as a member.
Our club voted Joey in and enthusiastically nominated him to the board of directors in his first year, a sign of the fresh, young blood energizing the conservative club.
This month, Joey Trefelner takes the oath of president of the club, vowing to make the upcoming year a year of growth as well as fun.
"My attitude has always been that giving is more fulfilling than receiving, and we both enjoy helping the community in every way we can," said Joey.
In addition to Rotary, he and Jen are both involved in the Seminole Booster Club, their church (Westside Baptist), and John Carroll fundraising activities.
Jen is also active with the Royal Palms, a service club for young women and the Florida Public Relations Association. J Joey has graduated from Leadership St. Lucie and is active with the Treasure Coast Builder's Association.
The young couple lives in a starter home tucked away in Fort Pierce, with their dog, Marlin, and cat, Bait, (short for Gator Bait).
They are planning an addition to their house, while Jen is nurturing an addition to their family, a baby due around Christmas.
It's true that our future is measured in the success of our young adults.
That's why Joey and Jennifer Trefelner are both a wonderful example and inspiration for the kids of today.
Sue-Ellen Sanders writes about family issues every week in the Hometown News. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.