Nancy Dailey Slotnick has a long history of service – but service away from the public eye. She has never been one to seek the spotlight, preferring to serve in more behind the scenes or in private roles. While her high school classmates went off to college, she chose to enlist in the US Army, much to the chagrin of her high school guidance counselor who was adamant that she should be in college – and even told her, “If you want to join the Army, go to ROTC and get your commission then join as an Officer – but you belong in college.”
The initial four year enlistment turned into a twenty-five year career, and right at the five year mark, the Army sent her as a young, newly promoted Sergeant to Fort Lewis. Within the first year at Fort Lewis, Nancy knew that Washington would be her home. The Army sent her away from Fort Lewis a few times: first for a year in Sinop, Turkey on the Black Sea coast; then back to Washington, D.C. where she had spent her first enlistment at the Army’s Military Personnel Center, but this time she was assigned to the Defense Intelligence Agency, Attaché Management Division. A couple of years later, she was deployed to a combat tour in Somalia; and for her final assignment before retirement, she was sent to Atlanta, GA.
But each time Nancy requested and was privileged to return to Washington where she finally retired. During her twenty-five years in the Army, she went to college classes on post in her off duty hours to get the college education that her guidance counselor, and her educator mother and grandparents had been so adamant about.
By the time Nancy completed her Associates Degree from Central Texas College, she had studied at Park University, Saint Martin’s University, and the University of Maryland – due to the limited availability of different Universities on each military installation. She then went on finish her BA from Thomas Edison State University by enrolling in the Army’s new eArmyU program, [electronic Army University] which gave soldiers the opportunity to earn a degree online from regionally accredited Universities and Colleges. Since she was already enrolled in the Army’s online program, Nancy decided to continue on and complete her MBA through Franklin University.
From an early age, Nancy was passionate about public policy. Raised by a widowed mother who was a school teacher, normal dinner conversations and talks in the car always seemed to be educational, with many centered on public policy, economic concepts and what was going on in the world. She remembers as a 2nd grader visiting Washington D.C. with her family, where her mother made it a point to obtain passes to the Gallery of Congress so that the family could observe the debate on the floor of the House of Representatives.
The Representatives were debating a bill about strip mining. Her mother had to explain to her what that was and why it mattered, but she never forgot that day.
By the time Nancy reached high school and took government and civics classes, she already had strong views about public policy. But her high school civics teacher pushed her to challenge her own views and expand her critical thinking about the issues. Through her time in the Army, her constant curiosity about the life experiences and cultures of others – both in the United States and abroad – drove her to continue challenging her assumptions and learn to see the world through the eyes of those with different experiences than her own.
In 1993, Nancy married her husband Jeffrey, a recently retired Senior Non-Commissioned Officer who had returned from combat in Desert Storm to a divorce and who had custody of his three young children. Nancy balanced the demands of the Army with becoming a parent to a ready-made family of 9 year old Joshua, 5 year old Sarah, and 4 year old Zachary. Two years later, they had another son, Avinoam. In 2001, Jeff’s mother, Joan, joined their household and has lived with them ever since.
Nancy and Jeff have instilled the ideal of service in their children. Joshua and Sarah both joined the Army at 18. Josh served four tours in combat in Iraq and is currently pursuing a degree. His wife Christine is a college professor and they are the parents of Nancy and Jeff’s first grandson. Sarah served in South Korea and in combat in Afghanistan before joining the National Guard, completing her BA, then joining a small business. Zachary is active in Special Olympics and works on Joint Base Lewis-McChord. Avinoam works in commercial tires and recently married his high school sweetheart, Lindsay, who works for the same tire company.
Over the years, they have raised geese, sheep, and chickens, cats, and dogs,
and lots of vegetables. They currently have two German Shorthaired Pointers – Emmie and Duke.