Veteran Nick Slater continues to thrive and inspire despite dementia

Senior Star at Elmore Place resident and veteran Nick Slater continues to thrive and inspire despite dementia

Resilience beyond challenges
His father served in the Air Force for over 20 years, inspiring Nick to follow in his footsteps.
By Wafaa Ezzat
Published: Nov. 11, 2023 at 9:54 AM CST

Live interview click here.

DAVENPORT, Iowa (KWQC) – Veterans Day is a time not only to honor and celebrate the resilience and strength of our brave men and women in uniform, but also to share their inspiring stories.
Retired Chief Master Sergeant Nick Slater, a 58-year-old veteran, despite facing the challenges of dementia, continues to enjoy life to the fullest.

Slater’s commitment to serving our nation was deeply ingrained in his family history. His father’s 20-year service in the Air Force ignited a sense of duty in Slater, driving him to follow in his family’s footsteps. Little did he know that this dedication and hard work would lead him to outrank his father, eventually earning him the title of Chief Master Sergeant.

“It was very emotional, and I know that was your proudest accomplishment, and to have mom and dad there was equally emotional, great memory,” said Roberta Barrer, Nick Slater’s sister.
Beyond his military accomplishments, he took on challenges like running marathons and even qualified for the Boston and New York marathons in 2016.

In 2016, Slater faced a life-altering event. Suffering from a traumatic breakdown and battling PTSD from his service in Qatar, he was diagnosed with dementia induced by alcohol. Despite this setback, Nick’s family, especially his sister Roberta, became an unwavering source of support.

“2016 retirement took a different turn, had some health issues not really how we thought your retirement would be but we have made the transition,” said Barrer.

Even though Nick’s life took an unexpected turn, he’s doing well with the love and support of his family.

“It’s fun because there’s always someone visiting, and my brother Leo came,” said Slater. “We used to go camping, we have a big family, so we were able to do that.”

While his dreams of traveling the world may have changed, Slater’s positive attitude hasn’t wavered. He is now living with dementia at Senior Star at Elmore Place within Memory Support, but he refuses to be defined by it.

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