Lexington native follows passion becoming Naval officer

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – A Lexington native was recently commissioned as an officer in the U.S. Navy.

Van Slatery always knew he wanted to help others, leading him down a long path toward becoming a Naval officer. His family sees his accomplishments as a culmination of who he’s always been.

“He just steps right up to the plate,” said Danita Slatery, Van’s mother. “And he’s always taken on responsibilities that he didn’t realize he took on. It’s just a part of him, like that.”

Slatery thought if he wanted to help people, he should be a doctor and go to medical school. He got his degree and was going through the application process, but realized his passion wasn’t in medicine.

“One day, after I had an interview, I just sat in my car for about an hour,” said Van Slatery. “I just thought to myself, I don’t want to do this with my life, I don’t want to become a doctor. And deep down I was like, ‘What do I want to do?'”

The decision to go to the Navy was easy since Slatery wanted to combine his drive to help with his desire to travel. Going into the Armed Forces, the training process was no cake walk.

“I will say that it is – it’s intense,” Slatery shared. “They break down, break you down as you were as a civilian and they rebuild you into a Naval officer.”

All of his hard work paid off as he was commissioned the day after Veterans’ Day. He hopes his story can inspire others to follow their heart and their passions.

“Don’t be afraid to get up, chase your dreams and fail, and then get back up and keep chasing them,” Slatery said.

Ensign Slatery’s first assignment will be at Pearl Harbor.

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