MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, Va. --
Maj. William Slack and his family were all smiles at the Marine Corps Exchange food court aboard Marine Corps Base Quantico on June 6. That day, Slack’s family drove more than 200 miles from Pennsylvania to see him graduate from Command and Staff College.
Dressed in blues, the well decorated Marine seem elated but not because of his recent accomplishments. For Slack, a fleet engagement team lead at Naval Supply Systems Command in Mechanicsburg, Pa., his greatest achievement arrived when his daughter, Isabelle, 11, and son, Billy, 4, walked through the door.
“I enjoy the presence of my kids — teaching and watching them grow is my reward,” Slack said. “Anybody can have a kid but to be a father, a dad, is something very special.”
Fatherhood is a job Slack doesn’t take lightly, even in a combat zone. During his 2008 deployment in Iraq, he found a way to spend quality time with his little ones.
“The chaplain had this program where Marines could record a video of themselves reading bedtime stories to their kids and then they would mail them home for free,” Slack said. “About every other day I would record a story for my kids, so they could look forward to daddy’s bedtime stories.”
On Father’s Day, June 16, Slack’s family hopes to Pay It Forward.
“For Father’s Day we talked about going to a pottery place where you can buy pottery dishes and paint them,” said Tia McMillen, Slack’s partner. “Billy is going to paint a cup for daddy, Isabelle is going to do a plate and Trenton, our other child will paint a bowl, so that he has a piece of each one of them.”
It’s a small way of saying thanks, McMillen said.
“Every single day Bill takes care of us and leads us like the strong Christian male leader he is,” McMillen said. “He has taught me so much about patience, and being encouraging and empowering.”
Slack attributes many of his qualities to lessons and values instilled in him by the Corps.
“The Marine Corps has taught me how to be a good father and leader,” Slack said. “Being a Marine, I’m very disciplined and task oriented, which helps me be a better father because I’m consistently making sure that everything gets done.”
As Father’s Day approaches, McMillen said it’s important for their family to take time and show Slack how much he is appreciated.
“He needs a day that is his — not just a birthday, but a day that really highlights who he is as a father,” McMillen said.
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